Impact - a powerful effect that something, especially something new, has on a situation or person.
The phrase 'impact measurement' is increasingly being used across public, private and third sector organisations as the pressure to evidence behavioural, cultural or social change grows ever stronger. Such change often takes time to embed within any system, yet organisations are regularly required to report on their actions and 'impact' on an immediate and short-term basis.
Whilst short-term measures are an indication of progress towards a longer-term goal or shift, they often only tell a small part of any story of change as impact of any kind requires a more sophisticated approach to measurement; an approach that recognises the connection between our actions of today and our results of tomorrow.
Logic modelling and the 'theory of change'
In supporting organisations to effectively assess and measure the impact of their activities and programmes, Opus 29 applies a practical approach based on the use of logic modelling and the 'theory of change'. In their simplest format, logic models provide a practical mechanism by which to better understand the relationship between actions and results. Rather than measuring only the activities delivered during an intervention or change programme; logic modelling supports individuals and organisations to view such activities as just a step along the journey towards impact.
Instead of seeing the activity as the end outcome, the logic model approach offers a way by which individuals and organisations can see beyond initial activity and begin to understand that outputs are only a step along the longer journey. By understanding that the ultimate outcome is a specified behaviour or culture change, (and defining what that change really is), then the logic model approach can help to articulate the various steps along the way that are required to embed that change.
By adopting a long-term approach to planning, individuals and organisations can focus on how the next three or five years will contribute to the long-term end goal...rather than the immediate activity and outputs being the end goal. Remember, though, change is constant, so on-going review of the process is essential! Practitioners need not be afraid of changing things along the way if the desired outputs/outcomes are not being achieved.
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Sample impact and evaluation frameworks
Click on the images below to download an example of how a logical model/theory of change impact and evaluation framework might begin to take shape for your organisation.
Examples of impact measurement frameworks delivered by Opus 29:
Right Coach; Right Place; Right Time | The PGA - measuring long-term coaching system impact (in collaboration with Skyblue Research and Evaluation)
30% Club Cross-Company Mentoring Programme - evaluating the long-term impact of a mentoring programme on the advancement of women in leadership roles
Scottish Golf Coaching System - Scottish Golf Limited - building a framework to assess long-term change for golf coaching in Scotland
Leadership Development - assessing the impact of an authentic leadership development programme on individual behaviour and organisation culture
Booth, J. (2016) Sustainable Sports Development...or Effective Change Management? In Biscomb, K., Medcalf, R. and Griggs, G. Current Issues in Contemporary Sport Development. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing