Pragmatic Impact Metrics Paper
This paper was co-written for the Triple Helix Conference 2015 by Averil Horton, Brunel University, Tim Jones, National Physical Laboratory and Laura Tucker (nee Fedorciow), Vertigo Ventures.
Despised yet necessary, loved and hated, difficult and easy; Impact is all of these things.
When we need to justify expenditure, Impact feels like an easy option, yet when we need to demonstrate the value of our efforts, it becomes difficult. When there is a need to demonstrate an investment case, future Impact appears obvious, but when we need to measure it, it slips through our fingers. When we need to secure support, funders require Impact, yet when we must report it, we shy from it.
The economic downturn has emphasised the need for sustainable economic growth around innovation and Government policies. Impact provides a way of demonstrating the social, financial and environmental return on the initial activities undertaken. So we must all embrace impact and do so now. But existing methods work poorly because embracing Impact to our collective advantage requires a different way of thinking. We all lack a common framework to make use of impact; we cannot easily talk about it, identify it, report it, or measure it.
But hope now arrives – here we synthesise four simple ideas, Impact Journey, Audiencei, Metricated Case Studies and Value Scorcardsii, to create just that essential common structure. Blending together frameworks and output methodologies already developed and used by Brunel University and NPL with an existing toolkit from Vertigo Venturesiii,iv – we give you a pragmatic, realistic, and simple method to identify, report, and measure impact, together with two output examples of practical impact reporting: Pragmatic Impact Metrics helps us all.