Our experience with impact modelling and measurement is deep.
We have worked on projects with Fairer Victoria to develop an approach to their impact model, with Q Shelter to understand their theory of change for the Queensland homelessness sector and with the World Wildlife Fund to understand the impact of Earth Hour. We have developed tools for understanding the impact of work and designing high-impact solutions.
But for years, spur: has been the plumber with the leaky tap. Although we’ve had components of a model, it’s never been the comprehensive approach we provide to our clients.
We know that the impact of articulating and measuring impact is exponential - good impact practice begets more impact, through our own and others' understanding. It was time for us to realise this for ourselves. The process was not linear—we know it never is—and went to the very core of who and what spur: is.
Through our work with clients, we are the amplifiers of organisations and initiatives working towards a world that is fair, sustainable and well. Because of this amplification, spur: is one step removed from the frontlines, and so developing our impact model was a complex task.
Over 4 months, the spur: team brainstormed, workshopped and debated the impact model. Across group and individual sessions we asked:
It was, inevitably, a complex process:
But in exploring these questions, and following the difficult path towards the answers, we would eventually arrive at the spur: impact model:
Our vision is our north star as an organisation. It guides our work and approach. spur:'s vision is 'a world that is fair, sustainable, and well.'
The impact model details and defines exactly what we mean by 'fair', 'sustainable' and 'well':
These elements interact and overlap, where for example, fairness influences wellness and vice versa.
It's important to map exactly what we mean in our vision so that when it comes to outcomes, measurement and articulating our impact, we have meaningful and aligned language.
'What we do' is what our projects are and how we undertake them, both for clients for spur: and our own undertakings through spur:org.
Our values embody our human approach to all that we do - our internal works with each other, our projects, clients and collaborators. Read more about our values, and how we came up with them here.
Examples of what we do are the specific projects spur: and spur: org undertakes.
For spur: these are projects with external clients.
spur: clients are not defined by who they are, or the industry they are in, but what they set out to achieve with their work. All of these projects must align with our vision of a world that is fair, sustainable, and well.
Articulating the elements of fair, sustainable, and well allows us to better align clients and their projects with spur:. Examples here include recent projects in LGBTIQ+ impact measurement, co-designed technology to reduce elder isolation and behaviour change for foster carers.
For spur:org, these are projects developed internally to promote positive wellbeing and reduce the instance of suicide around the world. spur: org projects include 123+; building the capacity of LGBTIQ+ initiatives around the world, Sticks & Stones; creating a more human internet and #OldMate; reducing social isolation in Australian elders.
The smaller circles represent work yet to be done by the spur: and spur:org team!
The outcomes of what we do is the 'why' for the spur: team. It's how our work improves our clients' capacity to create a world that is fair, sustainable and well. It's how much our clients' do good, better, as a result of our work.
Impact measurement is hard. Particularly for something less tangible, like organisational capacity. But perfect is the enemy of good. In order to measure an improvement in a clients' capacity to create a world that is fair, sustainable and well, we need to ask. Our clients' know their capacity best, and can chart changes in capacity best. Asking our clients these questions will be fundamental to measuring our progress.
Our supplementary measures are designed to assist in impact measurement - these measures are our clients' own measures. We know that if we see an improvement in a clients' capacity to create a world that is fair, sustainable and well, then we will see an increase in their own impact. This is not our impact, but the impact of our effect, and reflects our work in a rational way.
Impact measurement is not a one-time endeavour. It is an ongoing commitment to measurement, revision, reflection. We will use the model in a number of ways: