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Despite the many attempts that have been made over the past decades, difficulties remain with regard to measuring the social impact delivered by an organization. This concerns both a change of mindset and going one step further to identify and measure the real effects on society and not merely the input and output indicators. For once, let’s take a step back instead of looking further forward, though. We argue that to maximize its impact potential, an organization must first embed impact awareness and readiness into its every corner and level. As such, in this brief article, we argue that we first need to assess the organization’s social impact capability before we can even attempt to measure any impact it has generated. We call this the Capability Approach to Social Impact. It rests on an evaluation of seven capability areas: strategic framework, process, culture and leadership, structure and system, resources, innovation, and the external environment. Based on a self-assessment logic, it can be used in a range of contexts, fitting different organizational forms, financing models and governance structures, making it relevant and easy-to-use.

Graphic Examining these seven capability areas can help organizations determine their readiness for creating impact.

Anita Fuzi (@AnitaFuzi) is a freelance coworking expert. She is responsible for research and strategy at Cowork7/24, a digital tool that powers the modern workforce, and head of research at Evelo Agency, an open work and coworking consulting firm. She previously worked in innovation consulting at Limitless, and has been responsible for business creation projects at EIT Health KIC. She holds a Ph.D. in management from Cardiff Metropolitan University.

 

Lidia Gryszkiewicz (@LGryszkiewicz) holds a Ph.D. from Louvain Academy; is a co-founder of The Impact Lab, a collaborative innovation strategy consultancy; and has worked in innovation at Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, Arthur D. Little, and PricewaterhouseCoopers in Amsterdam. Gryszkiewicz is an advisor of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community hub in Luxembourg, a board member of the Social Innovation Association, and has often served the European Commission and national governments as an expert on innovation topics.

Dariusz Sikora (@darius_sikora) is a co-founder and manager of Limitless, which leads the Social Innovation Academy (funded with the support of the European Commission) and Social Innovation Association. Sikora is trained at Oxford, Maastricht, and Lodz universities. He combines his passion for social innovation management and entrepreneurship with his strategic and finance background as board member, financial manager and group controller, and previously as a Big 4 auditor.

 

Source: This article was originally published at the Stanford SOCIAL INNOVATION Review on the 6th of December 2018. Suggested citation: Fuzi, A., Gryszkiewicz, L., Sikora, D. (2018) Why Taking a Step Back From Social Impact Assessment Can Lead to Better Results (SSIR, Winter 2019 Volume 17, Number 1)

The full version of the text is available on the SSIR’s platform. To access the full version of the article click here.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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