Founder and Principal
Mary has over a decade of global experience as a researcher, trainer, and activist at the intersection of innovation and social change. She was New Media Operations Manager for President Obama’s groundbreaking 2008 campaign, is the editor of the book Digital Activism Decoded, and was funded by the National Science Foundation for her work on activism data. She has consulted and collaborated with nonprofits, foundations, and creative firms from North America, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, including the Mozilla Foundation, Open Society Foundation, and Google VR. She received graduate training in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and in Communication at the University of Washington. Based in Seattle, Mary enjoys biking in the rain, intentional communities, and contemporary art.
Senior Design Advisor
Kathryn is a design researcher who engages novices in the design process and inspires creativity. She received degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Music from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Previously, she directed engineering outreach at MIT Sea Grant where she developed a wide range of curricula engaging students and instructors in prototyping and engineering design thinking. She has also collaborated with the Office of Naval Research, the MIT Office of Engineering Outreach Programs, the Women’s Technology Program, NEOSEC, and the Massachusetts Marine Educators. Currently, Kathryn works in the Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching at the University of Washington.
Lynn is a passionate media producer and writer fascinated by the connective power of technology. After receiving a BA in Sociology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington Lynn developed social media strategy at Working Films, and provided community coordination for Mozilla’s NYC Hive Learning Network, media coordination for Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, and customer engagement for Outlier, as well as writing about music for Tom Tom Magazine, She Shreds Magazine and Bitch Magazine. In 2011, Lynn combined her queer identity and love for music to create Homoground, an internet radio show turned podcast that gives LGBTQ musicians around the world a platform for sharing their music. Lynn resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Ian is eager to bring his skills in financial projections and targeting to the world of social impact. Having studied Business Administration at Portland State University, with a major in Accounting, Ian works with early stage and growth stage startups to analyze and forecast potential trajectories as well as setting goals and benchmarks. Ian creates models that are dynamic and concisely communicate useful metrics. Originally from Hawaii, Ian currently lives in Seattle.
Lydia is an organizer working to support and lift up the next generation of activists. A graduate of Macalester College with a major in Political Science and a minor in Psychology, Lydia has engaged in a range of social impact work. She was a campus organizer for the Public Interest Research Group, served as a Legislative Assistant in the Washington State House of Representatives, and acted as the campaign coordinator for the student led organization DC Bully Busters. Lydia lives in Seattle, Washington.
At Do Big Good, our nimble, practical process moves quickly from vision to application. We believe in evidence-based social change, that a first guess is always wrong, especially when it’s about how to intervene in a complex social problem. For this reason, we must test and iterate constantly to make progress.
Begin with a Plan
Planning is the starting point of social impact, the grand strategy. Here logic models are created, objectives are clarified, target audiences and metrics identified, and theories of change written up. Though the plan will change once implemented (because you’ll continue to learn), it’s important to know where you’re going before you set out.
Start Measuring immediately
Measurement doesn’t just happen at the end of a social impact project. It happens all the way through. In the implementation phase a minimum viable product (MVP) or minimum viable content (MVC) prototype is designed and deployed, solution versions are tested, and re-tested, and data and feedback are collected. Once results are analyzed you try again, integrating improvements.
So Evaluation is Less Daunting
Because you have been measuring and learning from the beginning, evaluation won’t come as a shock. You’ll have been learning and adapting the entire time. When this ongoing measurement has occurred, the evaluation at the end of the project is a time for taking stock, for bringing small incremental learnings together to form big insights. It’s also a time to look forward, to ask how a project can be changed on a macro level to be more effective next time.
Decide with evidence
There is no magic metric or new deep learning technique that will “crack” impact assessment. It is simply a research study that seeks to describe effects through analysis of evidence. It is creative research design, diligent data collection, insightful analysis, and clear and audience-focused reporting. This is our work.
Work Like a Startup
For decades, startups in Silicon Valley have been developing and refining methods of rapid testing and iteration to use scarce resources to find solutions that resonate with their audiences. Massive companies like Facebook, AirBNB, and DropBox started out as tiny operations with no money and few staff. They were pragmatic and unsentimental in testing their assumptions, collecting evidence, and changing the way they worked to get from "plan A to the plan the works."
Do Big Good helps your organization do the same through simple methods of testing, learning, and adaptation that are easy to understand and cost only a little time to implement.
Address hard problems with Adaptation
Impact planning and measurement are needed because advocacy is hard. The social problems we seek to change are complex and change-resistant. If they weren’t, activism and advocacy wouldn’t be necessary. Because of this complexity, there is no shame in adapting, in being wrong in our first guesses.
But there is a problem if we refuse to test, learn, and adapt our approaches. If we fail to adapt, we also fail to make change, and people and the planet suffer as a result. We can do better.
Are you ready?
Are you ready to try something different? To work faster and leaner? To test your assumptions? To change when the evidence indicates that current methods aren't working? To really make the social change you dream of?