10. Using Evidence to Grow Impact /

10.3 Acting on evidence

STANDARD:

We act on new insights promptly to improve our work.

To meet the standard in full, you are quick to act on evidence to improve the work you do and its impact on the people you serve. As a team you identify issues, prioritize any changes that you need to make, and take action.

Successful social enterprises are committed to finding out what works, and using that learning to continually improve on what they do.

So, as you go along, try to consider ways that you can act on evidence. Try to make changes quickly based on what you have learned.

Sometimes your evidence might suggest lots of things that you can do or change. It can then be difficult to know where to start.

If this is the case, take time to understand what the evidence is telling you. It is often better to make a few changes quickly rather than trying to change everything at once or putting off necessary change. A useful framework for identifying action priorities is outlined below.


ACTIONS REQUIRED ACTION UNCLEAR
In this situation:

  • Decide what you need to do
  • Identify responsibility for making the change
  • Agree ways to monitor implementation of actions
In this situation:

  • Monitor the situation to see if anything changes
  • Look for other evidence to clarify the need for action
NO ACTION REQUIRED NO ACTION POSSIBLE
This may be because:

  • Feedback is positive
  • Action is not urgent and can be delayed
  • No specific actions arise
  • Action can be built into forward planning
This may be because:

  • There are other competing or more pressing priorities
  • There are budget constraints
  • There are no staff with the skills or knowledge to act

So determine the actions that are feasible and deliverable right now.

In particular, don’t underestimate the resources involved and ensure that you are able to see through the changes you have prioritized.

Often it is better to do less, but do it well. The key is good planning.

Course 10 in the Impact Practice series from the Social Enterprise Institute covers these and other issues and provides you with an action planning template.