What is social value an how the heck can you measure it?
From Social Value UK Social value is the quantification of the relative importance that people place on the changes they experience in their lives. Some, but not all of this value is captured in market prices. It is important to consider and measure this social value from the perspective of those affected by an organisation’s work.
Examples of social value might be the value we experience from increasing our confidence, or from living next to a community park. These things are important to us, but are not commonly expressed or measured in the same way that financial value
Thinking about impact 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. Constantly exploring different options and changing what you do makes it more likely that you will be creating as much impact as you can.
To make these choices there are some questions you will need to answer. The Impact Questions are outlined below and are fundamental to maximising impact. For more information on how to apply the impact questions, read ‘Maximise Your Impact.’
You’ll notice that the questions aren’t just about discovering how many people’s lives have changed or how much those people’s lives have changed. If we want to make choices between different ways of doing things we’ll 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.
There are also three overarching questions you will need to consider:
- 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?
Ten Impact Questions
- What problem are we trying to solve?
- What is our proposed solution to the problem?
- Who experiences changes in their lives as a result of what you do?
- What outcomes are (or likely to be) experienced?
- How can we measure the amount of change to the outcomes?
- How much change in each outcome has happened (or is likely to happen)?
- How long do we need to measure the outcomes for?
- What is the relative importance of the different changes in outcomes?
- How much of the change in each outcome is caused by our activities?
- Which changes matter and are important enough for us to manage?