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A new report from Koreo. Connecting with Impact: how best to mobilise talent for social change.



About this research

We commissioned this research to help ourselves, the people we work with, and the space as a whole, understand how talent is currently being thought of and developed in relation to social issues.

We wanted to understand where there were gaps, or disconnections, and therefore what contribution we and others could make in strengthening that picture, so that all our organisations were better positioned to create the change they want to see, in themselves and in the world more generally.

You can download the report here.

Executive Summary

The social issues facing the UK are complex and manifold. Sprawling, interconnected, disputed and stubborn, they defy easy understanding or solutions, and their human and environmental costs are clear.

And against a backdrop of national and international uncertainty, with the fault lines in our societies increasingly apparent, we find ourselves at a crucial moment for social change work in the UK.

Because while we experience new commitments to addressing key issues, as business increasingly joins the public and social sectors in dedicating their resources to social change, we are also experiencing a range of barriers which prevent mission-driven organisations from turning this appetite for change into tangible impact.

The nature of these barriers, which might more properly be defined as disconnections, are the clear findings of this new research, and at the heart of the following recommendations. We’ve categorised both into three spheres of influence; people, organisations and networks.


Analysis: Employees are an organisation’s greatest source for creating change. But currently, training and development does not make the most of purpose, and rarely translates into real change in an organisation.

Recommendations: We recommend that organisations put purpose and change at the heart of people development, and make development programmes relevant to current organisational issues.


Analysis: Silos continue to be commonplace within organisations in all sectors, and are a key barrier to addressing social issues. Even so, organisations are not prioritising the skills needed to overcome these barriers.

Recommendations We recommend that organisations are mapped and understood as human networks and that employers prioritise the development of skills that can connect their workforces.


Analysis: The complexity of the issues we’re facing means a rising need for organisations from different sectors to work together towards the same social objectives. However, currently the desire for cross-sector collaboration is not translating into action, and the opportunity to mobilise people and organisations around shared goals or narratives is being missed.

Recommendations: We recommend that more opportunities are created for cross-sector experience and networks, and that we use the UN’s Global Goals as a narrative to mobilise talent for social change.


The findings in this report, and the recommendations that follow them, contain plenty of threads for someone with a strategic responsibility for people to pick up and apply to their own context. The recommendations are designed to provide employers everywhere with practical solutions for driving more social purpose through smarter talent development.

Whether that involves rethinking our approaches to talent development programmes by placing purpose & change at the heart of our learning experiences, reframing our view of businesses as human networks rather than organisational charts or engaging with a new global humanitarian narrative encapsulated in the UN Global Goals that might give us the opportunity to energise our work forces and drive greater connectivity across our work.

What is clear is that business as usual in the context of talent development isn’t enough to tackle the challenges that face us and our organisations. We need to give the individuals that make up our organisations the greatest chance of success, and ultimately make our organisations and sectors more powerful than the sum of their parts.

If we can do that, our individual and collective ability to address the defining issues of our time will only increase.




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