An impact data standard is widely used by impact softwares. Agreeing on a data standard is easier, and smarter, than agreeing on indicators.
Think standardizing building materials into 2x4s and 2x8s, rather than residential floor plans. A data standard supports visibility into the degree of comparability across indicators, rather than getting everyone to use the same indicators.
Kate expects: In the post-covid world, something like impact measurement will remain important — even increase in importance — but the scope will evolve such that investors, grantmakers and managers of social purpose organizations are doing something more aptly called resilience measurement or social valuation. Specifically:
Our experience with covid will attune us more toward resilience.
Five years from today, the leaders in impact measurement will do more than show impact on key performance metrics; they will also show how — working with others — those metrics lead to resilience of people and planet. It is a more systems-thinking approach to affecting change.
Inequality will be greater five years from today; it will also be more visible and more uncomfortable. The effect on impact measurement will be to focus attention more on social value. We will see more widespread use of measurement frameworks that consider the perspectives of those whose lives are most affected by corporate and charitable impacts.
The next five years will bring the beginning of a more systems-approach to impact measurement.
To measure progress toward greater resilience and social value, things like contribution will require a less organization-by-organization assessment and more of a collective understanding. Supported by better data systems collective impact approaches could become decentralized and dynamic ad hoc networks rather than anchored by backbone organizations.
More investors and grantmakers will require impact measurement. Many will use impact data to support evidence-based decision making. Others will use impact data for symbolic and political reasons: as a signal of good management; and for assurance that their decisions are defensible to others. Even those who don’t use data will want to see the data.
Great looks like:
- An impact data standard is widely used by impact softwares. Agreeing on a data standard is easier, and smarter, than agreeing on indicators. (Think standardizing building materials into 2x4s and 2x8s, rather than residential floor plans.) A data standard supports visibility into the degree of comparability across indicators, rather than getting everyone to use the same indicators.
- So many companies score 80 or higher on the BAssessment such that BLab needs to raise the bar.
Over-the-moon looks like:
- A shift in thinking from uniform indicators to flexible standards. This means less emphasis on designing a buffet of well-specified indicators and more emphasis on generating principles and techniques for aggregating bespoke indicators into thematic clusters. (The buffets of indicators that we have now (GRI, SASB, IRIS+ and others) are an important step in building these flexible standards.)
- Greater impact measurement by businesses and charities for the purposes of improving services, rather than for the purposes of winning over investors and grantmakers. This requires adaptable bespoke impact indicators tailored to each organization’s impact context rather than off-the-shelf indicators selected from a buffet of indicators designed to support investors’ decisions.