KickStart IV: Measuring Impact

KickStart IV: Measuring Impact

Stefanos Zenios, Lauren Denend, Edward Sheen
Global Health Innovation Insights.

KickStart was founded by Martin Fisher and Nick Moon to design tools that would enable Africa’s poor to launch and sustain profitable businesses. Its first product was a line of manually operated irrigation pumps — branded “MoneyMaker Pumps” — that would help subsistence farmers transform their farms into profitable family businesses.

Since its inception, KickStart had sold more than 180,000 MoneyMaker pumps. Despite these encouraging sales figures, the company still faced the critical questions that confronted every social enterprise: What was the actual impact of the product on the people it was intended to help? And were these results cost effective? Fisher realized early on the need for KickStart to measure and validate its performance. Many nonprofits failed to set clearly defined goals, and they often measured only the outputs of their work rather than their desired outcomes (if they measured at all). KickStart was the first to point out that the number of pumps it sold was only an output measure, which did not indicate whether it was successfully meeting its mission to help lift people out of poverty. This mini-case study describes how the KickStart team developed a rigorous yet realistic approach to measuring and understanding the impact of its interventions.

This story is part of the Global Health Innovation Insight Series developed at Stanford University to shed light on the challenges that global health innovators face as they seek to develop and implement new products and services that address needs in resource-constrained settings.

Acknowledgements: This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant 1 RC4 TW008781-01.