The shift towards bringing the voices, perspectives and experiences of people and communities closer to the source of decision-making and power has been growing for some time. A distrust of governments and institutions who hold power, growing inequality, the subsequent questioning of ‘elite’ forms of knowledge and an overwhelming sense expressed by many of not having a voice in the face of unprecedented change and uncertainty, has played a huge part in accelerating this shift.
Nothing About Us, Without Us sets out how, and to what extent, bringing more diverse voices into different parts of the social investment process has the power and potential to positively impact stated social investment outcomes – and the lives of the people those funds are intending to serve. Through a series of interviews with people from the social investment sector, social ventures and lived experience experts, this report sets out what we mean by lived experience, the broad case for why it is important and the methods, processes and case studies for its use in the social investment sector. It makes some recommendations for further adoption through experimentation, in a way in which might involve a broad base of organisations interested in learning through doing.