Our theory of impact

Our commitment to impact

We view VIVID as an impact-aligned startup - which means that our team and investors are focusing on social impact. We're running VIVID not as a product-centered company; but as a collaborative project that enables VIVID's community to solve one of the biggest bottlenecks for broadly increasing wellbeing and human potential. You can read more about our approach and commitment to impact on this page.

This article elaborates on the social problem VIVID is trying to solve, and how exactly we're aiming to have an impact.

The problems we’re focusing on

There’s not one of us who doesn’t struggle daily with internal obstacles, be it stress, self-doubt, negative habits, or lack of motivation - however, for several decades, science has recognized evidence-based ways to overcome such obstacles.

So why aren’t they prevalent in our everyday lives?

Our team has spent over a decade researching this question and recognized two separate bottlenecks: customization, and implementation.

The customization gap

The first problem is the customization gap, which is inherent to personal-change advice; On the one hand, it has to be generic because it must apply to a wide range of subjects and individuals.
On the other hand, individuals can’t really apply the generic advice as it is - they need to complete the last mile of customization in order to apply it.

For instance, only a month after VIVID's public launch, customers approached us with use cases that exemplify the need for heavy customization:

  • The international debate community approached us, describing that their bottlenecks are not with teaching debate better, but rather helping debaters overcome a small set of common internal obstacles (such as impostor syndrome or fear of audience), with exercises that are specific to the context of debaters. 
  • As another example, we were asked to help with a wellbeing initiative for entrepreneurs, tackling the common internal obstacles that entrepreneurs face, and with implementation techniques that fit the specific context of entrepreneurs’ busy lives.

The implementation gap

The second problem is the implementation gap; Even when individuals truly wish to make a change in their lives, the distance to actually getting started, and then to actually persist, is miles away.

For instance, we found that many professionals who run workshops and lectures on the topics of personal growth feel the importance of their mission when they receive incredible responses from their audience - but are fully aware that most participants never implement these insights in their everyday lives.

This is the point of failure of many good theories and best practices that are found in self-help books, academic articles, and even advice from therapists - even when these theories are truly valuable, they are often lost in adaptation.

Theory of Change - How exactly we're making an impact

VIVID's Theory of Change

VIVID’s impact can be described in three parts, based on its short-term, medium-term, and long-term effects:

1. Short-term effect

  • Increasing human potential
    Humanity hasn’t figured out a way to scalably help individuals with internal obstacles - even though these clearly hold back a substantial amount of our potential. We believe that this is likely the most important century for the future of humanity, and that increasing the potential of individual talent is crucial to humanity’s ability to overcome our upcoming challenges. Incremental improvements on this point have enormous secondary effects on progress in other world problems.

2. Long-term effect

What happens if VIVID becomes successful and widespread?

  1. Figure out an intentional way to radically self-improve

This project provides an intentional way for highly motivated individuals to radically self-improve. In other words, this means that once we have a robust methodology to increase the potential of talent, even if it is likely that such a methodology requires a high amount of effort, individuals with high enough motivation could utilize it to become the best versions of themselves.

  1. Accelerate progress in the fields of wellbeing and personal-improvement

Accelerate progress in the wellbeing field and align it with large-scale evidence. In other words, we may discover scalable methods to improve wellbeing and individual potential in dozens of common use cases, relevant both to high-income and low-income countries. While it’s obvious that making people happier is important, the extent of this importance is based on how unhappy people are now. Could we be living in a world where humanity's baseline levels of happiness are significantly lower than they could be? It’s hard to tell, but you can learn more about our approach here.

This project is uniquely positioned as an intervention for broadly increasing wellbeing - which is relatively rare among interventions in this space.

  1. Figure out easier ways to remove internal obstacles - which becomes increasingly important as individuals have fewer physical and social restrictions

The importance of internal obstacles increases as individuals have fewer physical and social restrictions.
Even in futures that are based on virtual realities, internal obstacles will still be significant to individual decisions and, therefore, collective decisions.

Moreover, the wider the range of individuals' choices, the more weight that internal obstacles will have on the decision results. That is because the existence of restrictions and obligations in modern society requires individuals to face their internal obstacles. Yet, in a world with basic universal income and an option to spend time in a virtual simulation disconnected from society, the motivation to deal with internal obstacles will be incredibly low. This will have significant implications on individual motivation to pursue values and participate in society’s progression.

Another trend that will likely exacerbate this problem is more effective (and more immersive) non-aligned marketing and advertisement practices, drawing individuals further from self-directed goals.

  1. Broadly promote the value of self-reflection

Humanity is likely to converge on certain values, and whether self-reflection (and reflective values in general) is included within these values or not is crucial for the far future of humanity. There are two ways in which we promote the value of self-reflection:

  • Promote self-reflection among people who are likely to reach positions of power in the future (e.g. students at top universities). This is a strong consideration for choosing the social networks where we wish to implement VIVID in.
  • Promote self-reflection broadly within society. VIVID can achieve this if it manages to become popular in the future.

3. Intermediate effect & interaction with the wellbeing market

Intermediate effect: Pull the wellbeing market towards higher impact best practices

  • An intermediate success we aim for is pulling the wellbeing market in better directions. The wellbeing market is a new market, and today seems to be converging around mere symptom relief
  • Regardless of whether there’s a convergence effect (which is not eternal, just very costly in time¹) or not, hastening better standards in this market could account for much value.
  • Many standards could be implemented within the market through companies competing with VIVID (such as recommendations of plans based on their actual impact on similar users, focusing on foundational self-improvement and not just symptom-relief, approaching mind-shifting with a modular approach, allowing “hard work”).

¹ We don’t think that any convergence in an open market is eternal, but rather can cost several decades of ‘fixation’ (which might be too late for "value lock-in"). The influence of the first years of a market on the framing of a market (and therefore its demand) could be seen, for instance, in the social media market, where Facebook was very influential on what social media looks like, especially in how divisive it is. Nevertheless, we’re seeing more and more ‘innovative’ (although this term is just an illustration of this fixation) social apps that introduce entirely different concepts - after more than two decades. A similar example is the dating apps market.

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