Spotlight: Tomas de Groote

Tomas spotlight

What drives you?

Managing social profits by impact-driven assessment is my passion. I have seen a lot of wrong ways of focusing on what you’re essentially doing: some organizations – their leaders more precisely – miss the central point of linking their mission to daily business. It’s devastating to see the lack of innovation in social space by focusing too much on outputs instead of impacts! Concepts and ideas stop evolving over time unless you put your impact into question. Consequently, your organization stops evolving if you lose this point of focus.

Another threat: in times of economic crisis, the core debate of policy makers starts by questioning the public function of the social sector and what it actually achieves. Non-profits want to show what they are doing but policy cares about hard facts and outputs, thanks to the ‘new’ (i.e. old) managerial thinking. There is this disconnection-in-practice-by-focusing-on-outputs between non-profits and policy makers, making it hard to show what their actual and potential impact is and how much it matters for the future of society…

Biggest SocEnt trend you have seen in the last 5 years?

…on the other hand, a new wave of managerial thinking is appearing from different corners  – social-profit, profit, policy makers – to strive for social impact-driven management, innovation and policy based on a strong dialogue with different stakeholders.

Currently reading

Measuring and Improving Social Impacts (by Epstein & Yuthas)


Before joining Sociale InnovatieFabriek, Tomas ran a neighborhood arts-education project working with children from different ethnic backgrounds. “I became active in different sectors that touched children’s’ lives, I learnt a lot about the management of non-profits and about policy in practice.”

“In 2008, I participated in the Cultural Crossing Program by King Baudouin foundation. It was an exchange project with American non-profits that work with ethnic minorities, supported by the Department for Foreign Affairs. That was a real eye opener, I learnt a lot about how things can be improved in that area of societal challenges.” If you are interested in the foundation’s work-in-progress about impact management, click here.

Right now, Tomas runs a research project on impact assessment in collaboration with an entire research consortium, a group of profit & non-profit organisations, a group of consultants/coaches, financed for the next two years by the Flemish government agency for Innovation by Science and Technology.