This week has begun the Nuru Research Team’s two-week long conference bonanza! One down, one to go. I’ll tell you about the second one next week, but for now, allow me to report on the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) Metrics and Evaluation Conference.

It took place in D.C. on the Southwest end of Dupont Circle at the Aspen Institute’s headquarters. There were just a little over one hundred attendees. I’ve said to a couple of people that Nuru was a bit of an odd bird amongst conference attendees because we are neither funders of entrepreneurial ventures (at least not as our main mission) nor entrepreneurial ventures ourselves (again, at least not as our main mission). Most attendees fell solidly into one of those two categories. We, as a non-profit provider of services and partnership opportunities to rural developing communities, were rather unique. 

For this reason, one of my biggest hopes for the conference was fulfilled in a different way than I thought it would be.

As we develop Metrics 2.0, I am trying to think ahead about what our new technology solution will be for creating forms to compile data, housing data, and extracting reports so we can look at the data we have in ways that are useful to us. We’ve mentioned this issue a couple of times on this blog and on other blogs around the Nuru block here. Nuru is always trying to figure out good technology solutions for everything. Therefore, I was looking forward, at the conference, to learning about technology solutions that other organizations like ours use for these purposes.

Because there weren’t too many other organizations like ours at the conference in the first place, I wasn’t able to find out what these other orgs are doing. I was able to, however, take a closer look at one of the technology solutions we have been batting around here at Nuru a lot: Pulse. And I came to a preliminary conclusion based on my time at the conference: Pulse was built for the two types of organizations I mentioned comprised the majority of conference attendees: funders of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs. Because we want to use our own Metrics system, and because we are a holistic “service provider” rather than a specialist in either of those listed categories, I think we are not going to be using Pulse!

Also, I spoke with one of the representatives from the IT company that developed Pulse, and I described the monster evaluation Excel model that I built back in January, and mentioned that I “never want to do that again”. Unfortunately, his response indicated that Pulse would not prevent me from ever having to build a model like that again. In essence, Pulse does not do the math that that model did. I would like to find a solution for Nuru that does the math.

Fascinating post for many of you, I am sure (David), so I would love to know what you all think about my preliminary conclusion. Do you think Pulse could be the right solution for us? Why?