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Social Impact Measuring Tool

"What kind of social impact does this concept achieve?" Have you ever wondered how to answer this? For me, this question always begs a diverse range of responses and I often wonder what might happen if we had a "impact chart" that might be beneficial for realizing or measuring impact.

Photo of Kara Pecknold
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Good Guide has a methodology that has now contributed to the development of a "transparency toolbar" when looking at your purchases and their respective impacts. Many companies have environmental metrics that are easily measured out by dollars, emissions, reductions or offsets.

The social sector has a more difficult challenge when trying to measure impact but I'm curious to see how the OpenIDEO community could contribute to the process of making it more clear - especially when these impacts can be the most ambiguous notions for NGOs or other sectors to quantify but hold just as much value as the economic or environmental metrics. Often times, the social impacts rely on anecdotal/narrative measurement but what if they could become more than this? Next Billion Blog acknowledges this challenge

UNEP is also seeking to develop measurements for various related categories (pdf document here) and the Living Principles suggests ideas as well:

Actions and issues that affect all aspects of society, including poverty, violence, injustice, education, healthcare, safe housing, labor and human rights.

Actions and issues that affect how communities manifest identity, preserve and cultivate traditions, and develop belief systems and commonly accepted values.

How could design assist in the realization of it becoming visual/tangible?
I've proposed an app like idea but this could be built into a web tool, analog score cards or otherwise.

What kind of social impact does this concept achieve?

I think that by having a list of metrics that were more refined, it would help demonstrate the social impact more clearly.

What skills are required to take this concept forward?

Strategy Skills: to bring a methodology to light Design Skills: to make these methods accessible and visual Research Skills: to acquire insights for current methods and innovation opportunities Web/Developer and/or Software Skills: to create any digital/automated tools

How do you envision this concept being supported financially?

Similar to a Good Guide or other services that help me navigate my impacts, support could come from: 1) a consulting service similar to Mission Measurement: 2) a membership fee that would help companies/NGOs navigate social impact over time 3) Licensing fee I think there is more potential here and welcome ideas to build it out.

Virtual Team:

This idea comes as a result of the discussions around an OpenIDEO Toolkit with the Collab Cadre:


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Photo of Meena Kadri

Great stuff, Kara – and brilliant mash-up with the Good Guide!

Photo of Kara Pecknold

Thanks, Meena!

Photo of DeletedUser


I would also suggest you look at the work that the Acumen Fund has done in this regard - pre - BACO, and as an M&E tool the creation of Pulse ( - Rauen

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