Six Journeys into Social Impact Measurement
28 November 2017 at 3:49 pm
On Thursday the Social Impact Measurement Network of Australia (SIMNA) VIC and Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre (APSIC) will be welcoming a diverse panel of experts and practitioners to share their insights on building pathways in the field of impact measurement.
To get the conversation started, SIMNA Committee Members have shared their experiences on how they ended up working in the impact space, and why…
“Before moving into the social impact space, I worked in scientific clinical research, having a degree in Psychology and Statistics.
“My interest in impact measurement stemmed from my later work in not-for-profits where I noticed that although there were many great initiatives in the community, they didn’t necessarily have great metric systems to support them.
“Using measurement tools and applying them to the problems of today strengthens our understanding and knowledge of what creates change and gives us the opportunity to make informed decisions about where best to direct our funding and resources.”
Caroline Sanz, The Difference Incubator:
“I’ve always been passionate about working with people and organisations to explore their full potential. Over the years I’ve found that we can use business as an enabler to grow enterprises that can create and measure impact, without compromising on commercial viability. So now, I work with enterprises to build sustainable and integrated business models, with impact at their core.
“I got here through a lot of searching and networking (including some fan-girling and stalking of inspiring people) and attending sector events to learn who’s who in the social impact zoo. I applied for a range of roles but I didn’t make the cut, as I didn’t have a clear-cut management consulting or M&E (monitoring and evaluation) background. My lucky moment was when I sent in an expression of interest to a general call out for staff at TDi.
“My background is in organisational and leadership development and I have a masters in international development. I did part of my degree at Swinburne to focus on social impact, which led me to meet a group of amazing impact-driven women who have been my support, sounding-board, and connectors ever since.”
Kateryna Andreyeva, Social Ventures Australia:
“I started my career as a management consultant working in a corporate sector, where I quickly became disenchanted with working to make very wealthy people and companies even more rich. Somewhat idealistically, I left thinking that I wanted to apply my talents to make the world a better place.
“I came across SVA while studying masters of international relations and development – at the time I thought the only way to ‘do good’ required working in developing countries. I had a big ‘aha!’ moment reading about the work that SVA was doing – their vision of bringing the best from the social, government and commercial sectors to build a more equitable Australia really resonated with me.
“Despite little social sector or impact experience, I was able to join SVA, where my analytical and communication skills proved highly transferable to the task of supporting impact measurement.
“What drives me is the question of why – in a wealthy country like Australia – do so many people still get left behind? I believe we need evidence-based policy and a strong focus on understanding the needs of people we are trying to help. Working in impact measurement allows me to contribute to this goal.”
Jenny Riley, Navigating Outcomes and Collaboration for Impact:
“I began my career at the 1800 call centre at Oxfam, before moving to a program officer role. I was also undertaking a masters in development studies at Melbourne University. Oxfam had a great internal learning program on M&E and I was taught by Jess Dart and Chris Roach, who continue to inspire me today.
“After an international youth ambassadorship and a four-year stint in government, I returned to Oxfam in the Aboriginal Team to a reporting role that allowed me to explore measurement and evaluation more. I then headed up community impact at United Way, where I developed our impact measurement framework and produced our first learning report (which had us short listed for the SIMNA Award in 2014).
“While a senior evaluator at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, I was able to work on large-scale, government projects and learn from a highly talented team. At the start of 2016 it was time to set up my own M&E consultancy, Navigating Outcomes. I could see an opportunity to bring together impact measurement, business intelligence, data and dashboard technology to deliver shared measurement, real-time feedback and support evidence-based decision making.
“I’ve always been passionate about social change, and believe measurement allows us to learn and improve our work – to understand what’s working (or not) and why. With mobile, cloud, and dashboard technology now so affordable, I think we’re heading for an exciting time.”
Marli White, breakthru:
“I undertook undergraduate studies in applied science (information and knowledge management) followed by a masters in knowledge management then engaged in lots and lots of self-directed learning in impact and evaluation.
“Conferences (like those held by Think Outcomes and Collaboration for Impact) were a great way to hear from others who were further down the pathway. I believe networking and making use of the fantastic resources out there – like SIMNA and Better Evaluation.Org – are a great way to get your foot in the social impact measurement door.
“Having worked in for-purpose organisations for over 15 years, it’s clear that ‘doing good’ is not good enough, and so measurement is key to demonstrating positive change is occurring.”
Max Lynam, Impactful Ventures:
“In 2016 I was helping foundations and not for profits with fundraising and finding sustainable income to fund their programs, when I came to the realisation that the data, analytics, outcomes optimisation and real-time intelligence I used to effect outcomes and profit in the commercial sector were not being used in for-purpose and non-profit organisations.
“I spent a year researching and reverse engineering the latest social impact measurement and commercial data-science techniques, platforms and methodologies. These collaborations uncovered huge opportunities to use data and analytics to deliver actionable intelligence, real-time optimisations and predictive modelling. It offers benefits from stakeholder engagement to fundraising, all the way to long-term cheap and easy outcomes measurement.
“My dream is to see the billions of dollars in aid and public-purpose program design and operations be guided by real-time agile data intelligence, to enable the most effective and impactful sustainable outcomes for all stakeholders, with a focus on the end beneficiaries.”
The SIMNA VIC and APSIC Presents: Pathways into Impact Measurement event takes place on Thursday in Melbourne. See here for more information.