Understanding impact

This impact could be in the form of the social, economic, cultural or environmental value created (or destroyed) by enterprises, the outcomes of the focussed activity of impact investing and enterprise value creation.

StrategicFrame

Our research and endeavour focusing on the development and reporting of social enterprise and the measurement of impact of entrepreneurial activity is driven by our ongoing utilisation and development of the StrategicFrame impact measurement framework.

Our research has shown that measurement frameworks often ignore the perspectives of entrepreneurs, clients, beneficiaries or participants, and end up presenting incomplete, condescending or objectifying data. They often aim to assist employees as an important management tool but end up being an onerous and restrictive reporting regime. They typically promise supporters or funders transparency and rich information but end up being comparative lists and rankings.

We have enhanced our understanding of how the StrategicFrame can be used as a powerful organising framework, bringing the locus of understanding and measurement back to the enterprise and its beneficiaries. It explicitly privileges understanding and recognises the enterprise mission and the situation in which the enterprise operates (i.e. the beneficiaries and what needs to change); it can include subjective as well as objective indicators of activity and performance, considering value in broader terms than pecuniary equivalents and processes of reduction; and significantly, it requires managers to reflect and adjust their enterprise over time.

We continue to lead research and outreach activities to develop and refine this practical framework, and have utilised the StrategicFrame in a variety of organisations across multiple sectors during the year (e.g. healthcare, government, community services, community arts). This has allowed us to refine both our theory and practice whilst building capacity and understanding, growing our network, and assisting social enterprises to understand their impact through a holistic, enterprise-lead approach.

© Richard Seymour 2015