Social impact evaluation is a crucial process for any business that aims to create positive change in the world. It helps organisations measure and understand the social and environmental impacts of their activities, programs or initiatives. Evaluating social impact enables businesses and organisations to assess the outcomes of their interventions, identify areas of strengths and weaknesses, and refine their approach to achieve better results.
However, the traditional methods of evaluation can be time-consuming, expensive, and often insufficient to capture the full range of social impacts. This is where creative approaches to social impact evaluation can be useful. These approaches involve the use of innovative techniques and tools, such as photography, storytelling, participatory methods, and data visualization, to unlock a more comprehensive understanding of the impacts of interventions.
Creative social impact evaluation methods can help to engage stakeholders in the evaluation process, improve the quality and credibility of data, make it easier to share and communicate impact and ultimately increase the effectiveness and impact of interventions. For example, organisations can use participatory methods to involve the community in the evaluation process, generating deeper insights into the social context and identifying the key drivers of social change. Data visualization tools can convert complex data into impactful visual representations, making it easier for stakeholders to understand and communicate the results of social impact evaluations.
In summary, a creative approach to social impact evaluation can help achieve deeper insights, engage stakeholders, and generate more credible and useful data. These benefits can ultimately lead to better decision-making, increased impact, better communication tools and stronger relationships with stakeholders for businesses and organisations that prioritize social impact.
Many of our projects involve documenting social change in the lives of young people, and often creative methods can be a way of deepening an understanding of impact not otherwise possible with more traditional approaches such as standard surveys, interviews and focus groups. It also has the potential to engage young people who would be more difficult to engage in research and evaluation processes. So, where possible, creative, participatory methods are employed to achieve greater, more meaningful engagement and insights into where and how social change is taking place.
At our core, we believe that art and creativity, both in and outside of the traditional 'arts' context, have the power to spark, contribute to and augment social change and societal transformation.