Foundations: Is Measurement the Enemy of Creativity?

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Foundations have traditionally played two different roles in society: charitable, aimed at fighting emergencies, and developmental, aimed at increasing the scope and effectiveness of welfare systems. The modern crisis of these systems induced many foundations to move toward the new role of supporting creativity and social innovation, or at least to pretend to do so. Supporting creativity and social innovation does not mean venturing into extravagant and imaginative projects, but rather experimenting with specific interventions that fill the gaps and the ineffectiveness of modern welfare systems. Therefore, innovation means nothing without a rigorous assessment of the impact of interventions. Nonetheless, foundations are very shy in evaluating the effect of their activities, probably due to the fear of showing possible failures. This happens even though foundations’ structural characteristics give them a comparative advantage over other social institutions in producing knowledge on “what works” in social, educational and welfare interventions. If foundations perceive themselves as knowledge developers, knowledge about their failure to solve a problem (without indulging in rhetoric) is a very useful social result because it allows other institutions to avoid repeating the same mistake. Failures could be excellent indicators of genuine innovation in addressing problems.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteCivil Society: Concepts, Challenges, Contexts
Numero di pagine9
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • Fondazioni
  • Foundations
  • impact evaluation
  • innovation
  • innovazione
  • valutazione impatto


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