Reflections from the Oxford Impact Measurement Programme 2019

We are living in an era where there will be more interest and demands on people, organizations, and networks to measure impact.

 Last week, we hosted the second cohort of the Oxford Impact Measurement Programme at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford. A diverse class of 48 participants from 27 countries contributed to a rich learning environment. There are so many examples of their impressive individual and collective leadership, and we look forward to working and learning together over the next few years.

Our approach to teaching impact measurement drew on theory and practice across several disciplines, including program evaluation, social accounting, blended value, participatory approaches, and data science, among others. Our 5-day learning journey started by framing perspectives on impact (“Why”), how we understand and use evidence (“What”), approaches to measure impact (“How”), making decisions to prove and improve impact (“So What”), and future possibilities and opportunities (“What’s Next”). 

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Our students benefited from an outstanding set of guest faculty – Jeremy Nicholls, Karl Richter, and Penny Hawkins – who joined us for the full week to share their experiences, challenge our assumptions, and provoke and facilitate our group discussions. Our guest speakers shared their deep expertise and compelling insights – Jonathan Breckon (NESTA), Irene Guijt (Oxfam), Duncan Pollard (Nestle), Tom Adams (60 Decibels), Maliha Khan (Malala Fund), Amir Amel-Zadeh (SBS), and Marc Ventresca (SBS).

I am very grateful to be working with a fantastic team at SBS. Academic Director Alex Nicholls elevates our intellectual rigour based on his pioneering research and long-standing leadership in this area. We are supported by an excellent programme team – Annabelle Richards, Bryn Davies, Carlota Rodriguez, Kathleen Simpson, Rola El Chami, and Steve Brewster – who are very good at what they do, individually and collectively. 

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On a personal note, this endeavour thrives because of the support of many others. It has been a privilege to work with Alex Nicholls to establish and advance this programme, and to co-develop new strategies and resources to improve the programme experience and learning outcomes. In addition, many colleagues and mentors – Aunnie Patton, Celia Cruz, Gayle Peterson, Kevin McKague, Ted Jackson, Teresa Chahine, and Tessa Hebb – have been inspirational role models and enthusiastic supporters over the years.

Finally, thank you once again to the entire class of OIMP 2019 (and 2018) for your full participation and engagement. Our word cloud to describe the week was truly inspirational, with thanks to Stephanie Gnissios for sharing this. We are available to support your personal and organizational learning journeys, and look forward to hearing about your experiences and lessons in impact measurement. And if you’re interested in learning more about our programme and/or research collaborations, visit the OIMP site or get in touch with me.

This article was first published on Linkedin

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