Kevin Starr Finding Impact

FIP 38: Designing for Impact at Scale with Kevin Starr

Kevin Starr, Managing Director at Mulago Foundation and Founder of the Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program, has been scaling social ventures that provide the best solutions to the biggest problems in the poorest places, since 1994. Kevin also serves as the chairman of Big Bang Philanthropy and he is a regular contributor to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, PopTech, TEDx and

On this episode, Kevin walks us through Mulago’s designing for impact at scale (DIF) model and gives us great advice for how social entrepreneurs can sharpen their focus on impact. We end by illuminating the poverty-conservation trade-off and how Mulago Foundation intends to tackle it. Specifically, we learn about:

  • Why the social impact sector doesn’t function as a market for impact and why social entrepreneurs rarely make legitimate links between their intervention idea and its impact, including the responsibility of funders, budget allocations, and monitoring and evaluation.
  • Each component of Mulago’s DIF model to understand what the foundation deems necessary for a successful intervention.
  • Kevin explains the eight-word mission statement, the single impact indicator, and the behavior map in detail.
  • The four “doers at scale” and why social impact models need to be built based on these doers’ behavior change and ability to change others’ behaviors for successful replication.
  • The four “payers at scale” and why it’s imperative to know which payer a social venture serves in order to build sustainable pricing into the strategy as early as possible.
  • The significance of systems-thinking and treating your social venture like a “lab” by staying lean, failing fast, recognizing success, and proving your model.
  • In relation to for-profit social ventures, the three types of money available -which Kevin calls free money, real money and maybe money – and how entrepreneurs can overcome the typical funding obstacle of obtaining real money after accessing free money.
  • Current trade-offs between poverty and conservation efforts and how Mulago aims to encourage social entrepreneurs to link social, environmental and business indicators through their Conservation Fellowship.


Links to Guest


2 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] week’s Finding Impact Podcast (FIP) features Kevin Starr, managing director at Mulago Foundation and founder of the Rainer Arnhold […]

  2. […] week’s Finding Impact Podcast (FIP) features Kevin Starr, managing director at Mulago Foundation and founder of the Rainer Arnhold […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.