Matter of Focus was co-founded by Dr Ailsa Cook and Dr Sarah Morton in 2017 following pioneering careers in the university sector at the boundaries of research, policy and practice.

They realised their common interests at the University of Edinburgh as Sarah explored how to assess research and societal impact using contribution analysis, and Ailsa dove into the challenges of public service organisations shifting to an outcomes approach.

Building on Sarah’s work using contribution analysis, they co-developed a robust, evidence-based approach to understanding and tracking outcomes and impact, while also accounting for the complexity of understanding and tracking people-based change in a meaningful way. However, they struggled to find a dynamic software tool that could bring their approach to life and embed it in day-to-day work.

Driven by a desire to make this work accessible to as many public service organisations as possible, Sarah and Ailsa launched Matter of Focus and embarked on developing software to support and embed the approach – OutNav.

Alongside this purpose, was a wider commitment to building a sustainable, values-led company, where work was enjoyable and well rewarded, and profit was balanced with people and planet – that’s why we became a B Corp early in our startup journey in 2018. Read more about our purpose and impact →.

Listening to and working closely with our clients, we have continued to refine and develop OutNav, earning two awards along the way: The People’s Choice Award at the 2019 MERL Tech Dashboard Contest and the 2023 ScotlandIs Digital Technology Award for Public Service Innovation.

More importantly, we take pride in supporting the dedicated and passionate teams behind hundreds of pioneering organisations to learn, improve, and tell a compelling story of how their work improves lives.