From Impact to Impacting: A Pragmatist Perspective on Tackling Grand Challenges

Frithjof Wegener*, Ju Young Lee, Alice Mascena Barbosa, Garima Sharma, Pratima (Tima) Bansal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Downloads (Pure)


Scholars have long sought to impact management practice. However, the current conceptualization of impact is grounded in dualisms, separating researchers from managers, means from ends, and thought from action. Such a dualistic understanding of impact hampers researchers' and managers' ability to achieve impact. Nowhere is this issue more acute than in the context of grand challenges, which require researchers and managers to work together closely. As a way forward, we propose a pragmatist perspective on impact, where impact is not seen as a one-time, unidirectional event, but rather as a relational and recursive process. By overcoming dualisms in traditional approaches to impact, pragmatist
impacting can help advance progress on grand challenges and our current understanding of cocreation. In this paper, we illustrate pragmatist impacting and reflect on its opportunities and challenges through our experience at Innovation North, an innovation lab that brought together researchers and managers to cocreate a systems innovation process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalStrategic Organization
Early online date2 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes

Cite this