Groupe SOS launches IMPACT TANK, a think tank dedicated to evaluating the impact of positive innovations

Photo by Brian du Halgouet

Too often, social innovations that have proved their worth locally are not rolled out on a wide scale, due to a lack of convincing impact studies or visibility among decision-makers. IMPACT TANK has set itself the task of addressing this shortcoming.

Launched by Groupe SOS with four academic partners (CNAM, Sciences Po, Sorbonne University and Paris-Dauphine University), IMPACT TANK looks to inspire public debate through an operational approach, in which comparing impacts takes precedence over comparing ideologies. 

The think tank will be chaired by Agnès Audier, a non-voting director at Crédit Agricole, and rely on an advisory board made up of representatives from the partner universities and figures such as Julie Battilana, Professor of Social Innovation at Harvard, Antoine Frérot, CEO of Veolia, and Jean-Christophe Combe, Executive Director of the French Red Cross, to name just a few.

The first topics will highlight “high-impact” innovations for preventing loss of independence, inclusion in employment, or revitalizing the regions. 

Its work will be conveyed via various media: 

  • Reports providing proof of the interest of scaling up existing solutions to an issue of public interest, statistically supported by benchmark social science research.
  • Analysis briefs from figures relying on scientific literature review methods, to frame the debate using key results from reference publications on a given theme.
  • Events to communicate high-impact data and practices to decisions-makers and in the public arena.

According to Olivia Grégoire, French Minister of State for the Social, Inclusive and Responsible Economy, this initiative comes in response to three findings: “Many social economy players are looking for funding to launch innovative projects or scale up. At the same time, many elected officials or decision-makers from the public sector are very keen to support these initiatives, which are extremely appealing in terms of the cost effectiveness of their responses. […] Moreover, we are increasingly coming across private investors looking for projects that can deliver a reasonable return while making a concrete and measurable contribution to economic and social progress within the framework of high-impact investments.”

Created over thirty-five years ago by Jean-Marc Borello, Groupe SOS aims to combat exclusion of every kind. Employing 21,500 people across 550 establishments in 44 countries, the group has a budget of over one billion euros, making it the leading European social enterprise. Its activities are linked to all areas of solidarity (health, social, education, integration, environment, etc.) and social entrepreneurship.


Source: Groupe SOS

Find out more: The think tank’s launch evening