Giving Compass’ Take:
• Using the case study of Agricare in Ghana, Stanford Social Innovation Review argues that funders looking for data on impact should start by helping investees deliver a compelling value proposition.
• Listening to customers and understanding interests should be no-brainers, but it’s worth a reminder on how this works in action — and the connection to reliable information collection.
Impact measurement has been called many things: confusing, costly, even quixotic. According to an annual survey of impact investors by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), unsophisticated measurement practice is one of the five biggest constraints to growing the impact investing market. But does assessing impact need to be so challenging?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the Lean Data approach, which Acumen built specifically for measuring the impact of social enterprises and investors, it’s that, at its core, learning about impact is grounded in a pretty simple activity: listening to open and unbiased feedback from customers. It’s something we can all do.
Understanding customer needs is especially critical for enterprises aiming to create social impact, however most impact measurement practice relies on assumptions (“output” measurement). We tend to count the widgets we produce in the world and assume those widgets do wonderful things. By contrast, direct data collection from end-customers across what are known as “outcomes” — the material positive or negative impact of a product or service — remains rare. Without better information, we limit our ability to maximize the impact we create in the world.
Read the full article about listening and impact measurement by Tom Adams, Matt Ripley and Ashley Speyer at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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