The biggest misconception about impact measurement

children and netflix“I thought it was going to take over my life” That’s the common thing I hear from social entrepreneurs after I’ve helped them embed impact measurement within their business.

“I was so reluctant to even start” (is another)

And, that said, you won’t be surprised to hear that to quash the biggest misconception about impact measurement being all consuming, it really isn’t at all, and it definitely won’t take over your life… like a child… or Netflix.

And the whole idea that you need to measure everything or you’re measuring nothing?

Like, if you’re not measuring every outcome for every stakeholder, capturing feedback, creating case studies, calculating SROI figures, producing huge reports and implementing service redesigns, you’re simply not doing it right?

Err… Bulls**t.

Truth be told, just like anything in life, the hardest part is just saying you’re gonna start and actually starting.

And from there, it’s all about taking tiny steps.

Think of it like this: when you set a goal – like, a big goal – you don’t expect to achieve it the next day; you know you need to do little things often to get there.

Well, impact measurement’s exactly the same, and in many cases, when done little and often, should be effortless.

And, I must say, as I use the LEAN method, keeping it ‘effortless’ is all part of the process(!), especially when we do the following:

  • Be clear about why you’re doing impact measurement
  • Focus and prioritise what you measure
  • Keep it manageable
  • Integrate it into your existing processes and operations
  • Share the work

And, with the LEAN method, we start with just two outcomes and measure those well. Look at what the data is telling us, and see how you can continually improve. Then expand to another two outcomes, and repeat the process.

It’s actually very simple.

So, stop thinking you’ve got to measure every single scrap and morsel, as that stuff definitely will consume your life, and no doubt you’ve got enough to get through on Netflix to have that on your mind as well.