The TransCap Initiative has an open-ended, multi-stakeholder, and action-oriented structure and leverages methods from human-centred design and systems thinking to build a space for collaborative research, prototyping, field building, and investing.
As such, the TransCap Initiative is fundamentally about real-world action and practice-relevant research. As a do-tank for the sustainable finance movement, it recognises that practical experience is a potent source of knowledge, legitimacy, and differentiation.
There are three elements to the means by which the TransCap Initiative seeks to bring change into the world:
Stage 1 – Manage Millions
Finance is a profoundly practical industry, and when it comes to financial innovation, seeing is believing. So to demonstrate the possibilities of systemic investing, enable learning, and build credibility, the TransCap Initiative will raise and deploy substantial investment capital in real-world settings.
Stage 2 – Connect Billions
Systems transformation is a herculean task beyond the power of a single organisation. To achieve meaningful scale, the TransCap Initiative must “build the field” of systemic investing by activating and enabling a community of actors from across the entire investment value chain, and by matching real-world investment opportunities with pioneering investment consortia.
Stage 3 – Inspire Trillions
The scale of the sustainability investment challenge reaches into the trillions of euros per year. Generating outcomes at this level is only possible by harnessing the self-organising properties of complex systems through changing their rules, structures, goals, and paradigms. The TransCap Initiative will produce and disseminate the proof points and stories that enable the mainstreaming of its core ideas, leveraging best practices from storytelling, brand marketing, and narrative economics.
To progress along its impact pathway, the TransCap Initiative must develop the intellectual underpinnings of a systemic investment logic, develop the capabilities and operational models required to put its theories into practice, and demonstrate its possibilities and limitations in real-world settings.
We will produce these outputs through four streams of work:
- Work Stream 1 – Research: developing the theoretical and intellectual underpinnings of transformation capital as laid out in the design space, as well as the capabilities required to put its theories into practice
- Work Stream 2 – Prototyping: applying the intellectual foundations of transformation capital in real-world settings to test their core hypotheses and to generate insights and intelligence for their advancement, and to facilitate investment transactions
- Work Stream 3 – Field Building: mainstreaming systems thinking throughout the financial sector by activating and enabling a community of practice and building a platform for investing in strategic portfolios
- Work Stream 4 – Enabling: building a backbone structure to allow the TransCap Initiative to achieve its strategic intent and impact promise
These workstreams do not stand as separate pillars. They are designed as an interconnected web of innovation activities that inform and learn from each other. This ensures that the TransCap Initiative can evolve based on both theoretical development and practical experience.
Community & Engagement
The TransCap Initiative is a space that comes to life only through the people who are present in it. The way these people think and act, both at the individual and collective level, are critical determinants of the initiative’s success. Our ambition is to forge an active and inclusive community whose members are glued together by a common intent and excel at leveraging each other’s expertise, experience, and diversity.
What Does Success Look Like?
The ultimate objective of the TransCap Initiative is to induce a shift of paradigms, structures, and practices within the world of finance. We will accomplish this goal by gradually progressing along the initiative’s impact pathway.
For each stage of the impact pathway, we have defined a set of proof points that tell us whether we are on the right track. One set of proof points will help us answer questions related to the theory of change behind transformation capital. Another set of proof points will provide insights as to whether or not we are building the field of systemic investing.
At its core, transformation capital is a hypothesis. It exists because of a perceived problem—the inability of capital markets to fuel transformative change. The TransCap Initiative is thus designed as an inquiry, a deliberate and systematic investigation of whether a new investment logic can augment our capacity to cope with humanity’s gravest challenges.
The TransCap approach is developed specifically for issues that emerge within complex adaptive systems. A defining feature of such systems is that they constantly evolve. Likewise, transformation capital is also designed to evolve—through variation, adaptation, selection, and amplification.
In practice, this means that we seek to enable challenge owners and investment professionals around the world to use and adapt the knowledge and capabilities at the core of transformation capital, so that this new investment logic can achieve change at a scale that would never be possible if it were rigidly designed and tightly controlled.