Beyond Measurement Toward Feasibility
by Bettina Windau, Bertelsmann Stiftung and SIAA Trustee
Going beyond measurement means going beyond an academic debate about impact measurement and towards practical applications: how do we balance the required quality with resources necessary to complete measurement? Frequently, resources available to organisations are limited: does this necessarily entail a reduction of impact measurement quality? Should it? I suggest that one approach to reduce the net cost of setting aside resources for impact measurement for organisations could be to load the process with as many benefits to the organisation as possible, thereby moving beyond measurement in a very practical sense.
Social impact is, by definition, subjective (who is creating more impact: the school for disadvantaged youths in Sierra Leone or the hospital for marginalised people in India?), hence proving impact will mean different things to different people. I therefore think it’s important to develop goals together with multiple stakeholders (target group/beneficiaries, donors/investors, employees) in order to be able to define what it is you want to change before deciding how to best go about it. Embedding impact measurement into a broader context of goal attainment not only shows different stakeholders your impact, but also allows you to see where you stand in terms of the goals defined with stakeholders, what you are doing right and exactly where and how there is room for improvement. The diligent transfer from theory to practice is why I look forward to and have high expectations for the upcoming SIAA conference in Paris at ESSEC Business School. Let us move beyond measurement together!
Find out more about our 2013 Annual Conference Beyond Measurement here.