Caroline Ashley

Caroline focuses on how innovative economic models can deliver more inclusive and resilient development.

Caroline has worked on markets, business models and investment approaches that deliver social impact for many years in roles with challenge funds, impact investors, entrepreneurs, corporates, NGOs and policy makers. As Results Director of the DFID Business Innovation Facility, and Sida Innovations Against Poverty programme, she founded the Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business in 2010, then took on hosting it, and acted as Editor of the Hub for 7 years before it transitioned into managed by IBAN.

Most recently Caroline led economic justice programmes at Oxfam GB, before moving to Forum for the Future, to lead global systems change programmes to accelerate our transition to a sustainable future.

A growing Practitioner Hub! £1 per visit milestone. Value?

10. Apr 2013

Visitors to the Hub topped 4,000 in both February and March, for the first time since we were established. In March there were 4,700 unique visitors. As the monthly running cost of the Hub in March was approx £4,700 this marks a milestone: £1 per visitor. Is that good value? For you the user? For the taxpayers (to DFID and Sida) who fund the Hub? We’d be delighted to hear your thoughts. The Hub does not set out to simply maximise traffic. We have a clear niche in the busy world of websites on business and development. Others have much bigger reach and profile. Our niche is based on our USP: speaking from project experience, from and to practitioners. We aim for content that draws lessons from inclusive business ventures, and sparks dialogue between practitioners. So at the highest level our goal is to be useful to practitioners developing inclusive business. However, usefulness is a lot harder to measure than hits, visitors or members! You don’t have to be a member to access any content on the site, but members do get the monthly Newsletter straight to their inbox, so it’s a great way to keep updated. Membership grows steadily each week, and is close to 3,000. I enjoy looking at the members page (under the top tab, marked Network) to see the great diversity of countries from which the most recent new members come. What is driving increased traffic? Hard to know, but richer content from BIF and IAP projects, plus growing activity on our Twitter I hope explain it. Someone mentioned at a recent discussion meeting that the Hub is a gemstone, but a rather hidden gemstone. Should we do more to let others know about the Hub? If so, what? Just as visitors and members are only partial metrics, so too are monthly operating costs. Investment costs of getting going, and then of upgrading the Hub last year, are a hefty addition to running costs. The cost of actually generating the knowledge that is shared here is borne widely across programme teams, businesses supposed by BIF and IAP, and all those who blog or comment. Some blogs cost 30 minutes of time, but some reports costs thousands. If you have experience to share of measuring value for money on networks and websites, or would like more information on how we try to track ours, do get in touch with our Hub Manager, Emma Doherty.

Further information

Practitioner Hub Member Survey 2011 - Report and executive summary

About the Practitioner Hub:

Contact Emma Doherty, Hub Manager: