Stage 2 of the Lean Social Impact Method: I really should be charging for this

I really should be charging for thisWell, if you’re reading this, then obviously my last blog didn’t scare you off too much, and you’re interested to know what Stage 2 of my Lean Social Impact Method is?

Wonderful, well I won’t keep you hanging.

(If, however, you’ve landed on this blog having not read the previous one; you own or work within a social enterprise; and you want to make things easier for yourself, here’s the link to the first blog to find out what I’m harping on about!)

So, just to recap then, the 5-stage Lean Social Impact Method looks like this:

Define, Plan, Measure, Analyse, Learn.

Last week I shared what stage 1, the ‘define’ stage is all about.

Well, this week you’re in for a double whammy, as today I’ll be sharing stage 2, and on Friday, stage 3!

And let me tell you, I’m being very generous with my knowledge here, so eat it up while you can.

Stage 2: Plan

Righteo then, so now you’ve got your ultimate goal defined, the next stage is all about planning what data you’ll need to collect to enable you to test if you’re achieving said goal or not.

I know, I know. I said it. The D word.

But remember, this is the lean social impact method…it’s about making things easy.

OK, so to keep it simple, you’ll be focusing on two key stakeholders…

(You’ve probably got lots of stakeholders, but let’s get real here, you’ve avoided doing impact measurement up until now – or not really focussed on it properly – so planning to consult and collect data from lots of stakeholder groups won’t happen).

By the way, did I say I like to say it straight?

Once you’ve identified who the two are, it’s time to identify the outcomes that matter most to these two stakeholder groups.

Now, you might come up with quite a few, but remember, this is about simplicity, so work out the top 2 by ranking them against how they measure up to your ultimate goal.

For example, if you’re helping people to self-manage their health conditions, then measuring how confident they feel in managing their health condition might be useful, whereas measuring changes in the access to support networks might not.

Other general data is good here too, such as a person’s age, location, gender, health conditions, other characteristics (such as homeless, alcohol/drug issue, ex-offender etc.) and what services/activities they access at your organisation.

This will enable you to see if the outcomes that are achieved changed based on these characteristics.

Next up, it’s about how you’ll know these outcomes have been achieved, often called ‘indicators’ and proof that an outcome has been achieved.

You can also look at all the open source data that’s out there on outcomes, measures and valuing outcomes and see what’s useful for your own idea, and incorporate that in to your plans for data collection.

For starters, I recommend you take a look at the Big Society Capital’s Outcome Matrix or National TOMs for ideas on outcomes and indicators, or if you want it done for you book a call with me on 020 8798 0515, or view this link.

After that, it’s a matter of thinking about the type of questions you should ask, such as:

Have any other changes (positive or negative) happened as a result of our support?

Finally, think about how and when you’ll collect the data – will you use surveys, focus groups, games, interactive methods or something else?  What is the best way to get the data you need in the easiest way?

Think about when you’ll see that stakeholder and how you could incorporate data collection in to your existing activities.

How often do you need to collect the data – in most cases to evidence change you are going to need to collect information at the beginning and again later on.

If you want to put financial values to your outcomes, or calculate your SROI (Social Return on Investment), you’ll need to ask some additional questions to make sure you can do the adjustments – but it’s better to do some initial data collection and then think about doing SROI later, or getting help if you want to do SROI straightaway.

So, that’s stage 2 of the Lean Social Impact Method…what do you think?

Now, you might be thinking, “But Heidi, you said this was going to be easy, this seems like a lot to think about”…and you’re sort of right. But thing is, this IS the easy way to measure your social impact, and it’s even easier if you know what the other stages are too, so look out for my next blog this Friday.