Using Technology to Create Systemic Impact

By: François Perreault

Doing well by doing good is here to stay, and technology is the culprit. With the rapid expansion of information technology, more and more people seem willing to push the limits of their social venture ideas, scale them up and aim  to create real systemic impact.

Social entrepreneurs and social enterprises do come in many forms. Some are purely non-profits, others, for profits, and many are hybrids. Definitions abound, and the spectrum of social businesses is vast and eclectic.

Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise uses the term “for purpose” to describe his organization. Pencils of Promise is a modern for purpose organization very active on social media. They build schools, give scholarships, train teachers and provide water and health programs to students.

Blake Mycoskie founder of TOMS Shoes decided to use a simple One-for-One model. He has inspired other similar social ventures to do the same. TOMS has expanded the One for One concept to include restoring sight and providing for clean water. It is a for-profit company with a not-for-profit arm.

Jessica Jackley and Matt Flannery created an online platform, Kiva.org, which revolutionized the micro-lending industry, giving everyday people the chance to fund entrepreneurs worldwide. Kiva is a non-profit.

Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof used Facebook to distribute a game linked to their Half the Sky movement. They also created mobile game apps to reach communities in India and East Africa.


Alex Bogusky with other like-minded colleagues created COMMON, the “world’s first collaborative brand” with an online marketplace and a network of professionals working to unite business practices and social good.

It is indeed an exciting time to be a social entrepreneur. Social ventures are a growing trend as more and more people are realizing that social impact can be profitable not only to their beneficiaries but to all of their stakeholders.

Pandoo Foundation is part of that social entrepreneurship trend. It is not your typical NGO or your typical corporate foundation. It is part of a social enterprise, a hybrid corporation called ShiftRunner that is blurring the profit and nonprofit boundary through the use of technology.

Shiftrunner has an 80/20 model. 80% of subscription revenues go towards the commercial growth of Pandoo Nation, an online kid’s game. The rest, 20%, goes to Pandoo Foundation, who in turns funds development projects.

In reality, kids fund these projects, and we incorporate them to our in-game platform. Through game play, kids can unlock the projects and learn more about them with kid-friendly videos and stories from the field designed to be educational and to stir empathy.

Hence, with the use of technology, Pandoo Foundation is providing educational and real world content that allows Pandoo Nation to gamify giving through our platform, a simple online tool accessible to networks and communities of kids worldwide.

Our social venture is pretty unique. As far as we know, Pandoo Nation is the first virtual world for kids that is gamifying giving, and Pandoo Foundation is the first non-profit organization completely integrated to an on-line game enabling kids to help other kids their age in the developing world.

Redefining how we do business is exciting. If we keep on redefining capitalism, the potential for an eclectic group of people and organizations to have real social systemic impact around the globe is limitless, especially in a world where the accumulation of wealth has surpassed any other moment in history.

Doing good by doing well is here to stay and for us technology is the culprit. Technology gives us the tools to gamify giving online and to reach millions of kids and families worldwide. It gives us the opportunity to fulfil our mission, which is to alleviate poverty and influence a new generation of young people by challenging, celebrating and assisting them to put their values and evolving view into action.

Through a fun game, we want to ultimately unlock the potential in kids everywhere to become global change makers, which would undoubtedly create real social systemic impacts for years to come.

How cool would that be?

*Pandoo Nation is in its final stages of development and will be available soon.