How Impact Investors Actually Measure Impact

This solution addresses identifying the specific practices actually used to measure social impact. in the world for impact investors

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Problem Description

There is much discussion about how investors can measure their social impact, but this talk is often overly hypothetical or theoretical. This solution (and the study it documents) aims to instead head in the direction of reality, and document what investors are actually doing to measure their impact.

Building Blocks

Story

The report that this solution documents was developed as part of an independent project through the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative in fall 2014, under the supervision of Alnoor Ebrahim. It is authored by Ivy So and Alina Staskevicius. It's titled, Measuring the “Impact” in Impact Investing.

The study interviews a diverse set of over 20 entrepreneurs from leading impact investing organizations. It combines interview results with independent research findings to develop what the researchers see as common categories of measurement methods. The study looks at these methods over the entire span of the investment cycle (Estimating, Planning, Monitoring, Evaluating). It also provides analysis on the advantages and disadvantages of each of these techniques.

Level of Analysis

  • System / Ecosystem
  • Photos

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    • Map of measurement methodologies web 1

    Resources

    Contributed By

    • Ivy So, Harvard Business School
    • Alina Staskevicius, Harvard Business School

    Solution Stage

    One of the 7 stages of an innovation. Learn more
    STAGE SPECIALIST SKILLS REQUIRED EXAMPLE ACTIVITIES RISK LEVEL AND HANDLING FINANCE REQUIRED KINDS OF EVIDENCE GENERATED GOAL
    Exploring opportunities and challenges1
    Research and analysis for exploratory work
    • Horizon scanning
    • Evidence scanning
    • Ethnography and insight generation
    • Systems mapping
    • Foresight
    • Complaints and consumer research
    • Low risk of failure, but clear decisions should be taken about how to act on insights.
    LOW
    • Grants
    LOW
    Insights derived from formal research and informal knowledge gathering
    A well understood and clearly defined problem or opportunity

    Key Details

    Activity