Measuring impact in a dynamic organisation such as LGI can be quite a task! In early 2022, two master students from HEC Paris, Lucía and Clara, joined our LGY impact journey. They helped us gather and go through a ton of information, laying the foundation of our impact analysis. At the end of the project, they wrote a few lines about their experience at LGI:

Hello! My name is Lucía. I am a proud Mexican who arrived in Paris seven months ago to pursue a master’s degree in Sustainability and Social innovation. I have a really diverse background. I received my bachelor’s degree from Tec de Monterrey, Mexico, in Biomedical Engineering, where logic, analysis, and numbers were what I dealt with daily. Then, following my professional objectives, I worked in open innovation for the education sector, where I discovered creativity, future foresight and design. For me, coming to HEC Paris reinforces my commitment to the environment and to society; it represents an opportunity to act and thus achieve transformational changes. Being part of LGI’s impact assessment task challenged me to think out-of-the-box, transform, and convey my thoughts in simple and concise steps. This experience has definitely contributed to my professional growth and I am very happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.

Hi there, I’m Clara! I’m a French national who has spent the last 20 years living in the United States. I received my bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, studying human services, law and public policy, and international affairs. I then worked in pro bono and corporate social responsibility at a global law firm in Atlanta, Georgia, for two years before coming to HEC Paris to receive, like Lucia, a master’s degree in Sustainability and Social Innovation. I’ve long been fascinated by sustainable enterprises and the role that they have in shaping the private sector, leading efforts to fight climate change and consume sustainably. LGI’s purpose and mission as a sustainable innovation consulting firm align with the values that I carry in my professional and academic careers; joining the company, albeit briefly, to assist them in understanding their ESG impact and ways to improve has been a true pleasure and honour.

Why we’re here

Our school’s Business Project was created for companies to take advantage of students’ burgeoning expertise in the domain of Sustainability and Social Innovation, to boost their innovation strategies and get a fresh perspective on their operations related to sustainability. We, as students, get the chance to put our lessons into practice and apply the methodologies we are taught in the classroom within a professional context.

As an Entreprise à Mission, LGI has set four objectives that it lives by to ensure that sustainable innovation and social responsibility remain at the forefront of its mission and daily activities. LGI brought us on to perform an impact assessment of its operations since 2016, to see how they have been doing in their alignment with their objectives and to identify areas of improvement. We visited LGI’s office twice a week over the span of ten weeks to perform our mission and produce deliverables that will hopefully prove useful to LGI in the long run.

A lot of “firsts”

Getting to know the culture at LGI over the ten weeks was a true pleasure. The company has a unique personality that each of its employees contributes to in their own way. We were delighted to find that LGI has instilled a healthy tradition of having group lunches every day in the office. Having abolished single-use plastic in the office as much as possible, LGI’s employees will dutifully retrieve their Tupperware containers to use at the lucky chosen restaurant of the day (once everyone is ready to go, of course; no man or woman is left behind), forming camps that, in true French style, value taste cravings over efficiency. What’s more, the team’s WhatsApp group chat is rife with memes, gifs, invitations for post-work drinks, and fun challenges and games that keep the team connected and light-hearted within a professional context. We can happily vouch for the positive vibes and goodwill that exists at LGI. All companies would be lucky to have such a good energy!

We have naturally been introduced to many professional “firsts” during our mission at LGI as well. Not only has this has been our first time working in a sustainable innovation consulting firm, but it has also been an introduction to performing an impact assessment for over 100 projects in different sectors. We have learned quite a lot about the best practices to use, leaning on benchmarks of other consulting firms to guide us, and are now equipped with countless analytical and methodological tools we did not have before conducting this mission. We were exposed to the world of projects funded by the European Commission and the numerous stakeholders that are involved behind the scenes. We conducted a partial carbon footprint analysis of LGI, a first for Lucía, that went beyond the company’s office consumption and took into account the estimated emissions from employees who worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. This exercise was new to us and proved extremely interesting, as we not only learned about the average consumption of a French household, but we got a glimpse at what future company carbon footprints may look like as hybrid work practices remain in place even after the pandemic ends.

Key takeaway: the challenge of defining impact

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have had this opportunity to work with and learn from LGI. Just as this experience challenged LGI to think of how it defines impact and the lasting influence it wants its missions to have, so were we challenged to create a methodology and framework that would adequately and efficiently encompass the many nuances of a consulting firm’s operations. We compared our methods with those used for similar impact assessments and found that there is no agreed-upon way to measure the impact of consultancies, as the breadth of the companies’ reaches are often wide and varied in levels of involvement. Furthermore, while consensus can be found on frameworks and approaches, leaders often have differing views on how impact should be defined and what they want to learn from their impact assessments.

For us, measuring LGI’s impact involved understanding the company’s role and every contribution it made to a project. Some have direct consequences on the client, while others have an indirect impact on stakeholders beyond LGI’s sphere of influence. Having this understanding and transforming it into actionable processes and tools is, in our opinion, our main contribution. It was encouraging and gratifying for us to work with a company that is open to trying new things, accepting of proposals and ideas, and willing to put in place new processes and measuring tools with the sole purpose of becoming a better business. Thank you, LGI, for having us!