Y’know when you actually see someone’s ‘penny drop’ moment?
That happened to me last week.
I was delivering a workshop on impact measurement & management when someone put their hand up and said:
“Do you know, I never really saw the point in doing impact measurement until you explained about impact management. Now I can see how it’ll help me improve my services rather than just being something I do for an external funder.”
Penny, mic, jaw…everything dropped.
And let me tell you, it was a very proud moment for me.
See, as a Consultant in such a misunderstood industry, this kind of feedback is my payoff. My prize.
Because these “AHA!” moments are usually the thing that sparks the beginning of change.
And also, to me, this is what sharing impact management is all about is, well, all about, as it’s getting to the why – why we do impact measurement in the first place.
“But Heidi! What in God’s name is impact management and how does it differ from impact measurement?” I suppose you’re wondering?
Well, let me explain for you…
Impact measurement should be part of the social enterprise’s DNA. It’s the process of designing systems, consulting with stakeholders, collecting data and measuring the impact you have.
(For additional resources go to www.inspiringimpact.org)
Over the last few years impact measurement has shifted to focus on what you do with the information – and this is now as important (actually more important) than the process of simply measuring stuff.
Now, on the other hand, impact management is about what an organisation does with the information they have obtained through the impact measurement process.
In Japan, they call it Kaizen, here, we call it: Continuous improvement.
Impact management continually improves the social enterprise so you can increase the level of positive impacts and reduce negative impacts.
And this is why they work together so beautifully…
OK, so, imagine a world where you know what outcomes you’re great at delivering, what outcomes you’re not very good at delivering, and have a plan to improve and maximise your outcomes?
You’re that focused on getting better at what you do, and you’ve set targets for the level of outcomes you want to achieve.
This is absolutely ideal and much better than simply measuring stuff and hoping you’ve achieved your desired outcomes.
Measuring and then actively managing impact means you’ll know where you’ve had negative or unintended outcomes, and what you can learn from this.
Now, isn’t that a penny, mic and jaw drop moment?
If you’d like to know more about impact measurement and management, then email me: firstname.lastname@example.org