Good social innovators want to know that they are making progress toward their mission. If they cannot rely on the accuracy of data they may well steer the organization in the wrong direction, and they may also fail to attract continuing funding. Honest evaluation of impact, ideally with hard data, is a means to prove that an organization is living up to its values as well as to guide founders about what programs and products to continue developing and which to set aside.
Baking Metrics Into Your Process
D-Rev's user obsession goes way beyond the design process. Once the product is in the users' hands, they want to know how it's being used and have a clear idea of what impact it will create.
D-Rev is working on a budget of less than a million dollars a year, and they have three projects currently running, plus R&D and impact assessment. So, when it comes to evaluation, they have to get it done on a shoestring budget. The name of the game for them is efficiency. How can they collect the most relevant information tied directly to impact in a streamlined, efficient manner.
Early in the design process they clearly define the goal of each project, and then they develop metrics to measure effectiveness in reaching it. For instance, with Brilliance their metrics are number of babies treated, number of babies treated that would otherwise not have been treated, and finally deaths and disabilities averted.
With the Knee, the metrics are number of amputees ...