Another way of thinking about social value management is through asking a set of questions to the right people at the right time. It is then about using the answers to help you in making the different choices, or decisions, that we are all constantly having to make in our work, at different levels of risk, times of the year, amounts of resource. Constantly exploring different options and changing what you do makes it more likely that you will be creating as much impact as you can and continually improving your impact, as well as the services that you offer.
In the Maximise your Impact guide we talk about ‘impact thinking’ which means focusing on creating as much net positive impact as we can with the resources we have. Impact thinking means making choices, for example between one strategy and another, between one product and another, or between trying to improve one product or another. Choices intended to create more impact than before.
To make these choices there are some questions you will need to answer. The Impact Questions are fundamental to maximising impact, impact questions should be asked throughout your planning and delivery cycle for your activities, as outlined below.
The questions aren’t just about proving impact, discovering how many people’s lives have changed or how much those people’s lives have changed. The questions are about using this information to help us to make choices between different ways of doing things so that we can improve our impact and ultimately the lives of the people who we are affecting every day. To this we also need to know how much our actions caused these changes, how long they lasted and how important they are to the people experiencing them.
To ask and answer these questions, it is also important to consider these overarching questions:
- Who should answer them?
- How rigorous do the answers need to be to inform your decisions?
- What assurances do you need that the information is relevant, complete, and accurate before you are able to make those decisions?