Impact measurement and management may well be on every business executive’s mind right now, but it will be a pointless and time-consuming exercise unless it acts as a dynamic and strategic tool to guide the organisation.
Here are 10 tips to get you on the right track and keep you there.
1. Set out an impact model
Without a plan, a map, or even a guide .. well, you know how it goes. It doesn’t need to be complex, but it does need to be clear.
2. Articulate your Theory of Change
What really matters and to whom? That’s a great place to start and will set you up nicely, but if you want to test your assumptions, ask ‘why?’ Get granular and dig into why you think this is so. Mapping out your Theory of Change will give you the road map you need to move forward.
3. Keep it simple
As soon as it seems complicated and hard to manage it’s likely you’ve taken a wrong turn.
4. Establish the data points that most closely relate to your Theory of Change
What’s relevant and what’s not? Sit with these assumptions for a little while, return to them and test them with the team.
5. Set out realistic benchmarks
What makes sense to your project, your organisation and your impact? Sensible benchmarks will compliment your impact model and help make the plan achievable.
6. Collect the data that’s practical to collect
The impact manager’s mantra is to measure what matters, but what you won’t always hear is to keep the measurement manageable.
7. Consider what’s actually useful
Impact management is a strategic business tool, so bear that in mind. What will help your business with strategic decision making? What information is going to be useful and to whom?
8. Measure what matters
Sounds old hat, but never has this been so relevant. Think carefully about what you should be measuring to understand just how well, or not so well, you’re doing. We count money in versus money out, so how about carbon out, sunshine in or water down the drain?
9. Don’t let it get too tricky
If what you are doing is proving difficult to get meaningful output then you’ve gone down the wrong track.
10. Pick the right partner
That also means picking the partner that’s right for you, as well as right for your project. The field of impact measurement is evolving rapidly. Technology is enabling increasingly smarter ways to measure and evaluate impact. Finding the right partner is a critical step in the process. Look for a partner with smarts ‘under the hood’, not just a shiny reporting tool.
And there you have it, our top ten tips to keep you on track.
In a nutshell, set up a simple impact model, consider the chain of events that lead to impact and, with a clearly articulated Theory of Change, you’ll measure the things that matter to you and your stakeholders without getting lost down an impact management rabbit hole.
If you’re still scrambling on how to get started, Good Business Matters can help guide your business with their impact management and measurement.