HK+Acumen’s First Salon!

Inspired by other +Acumen chapters’ salon ideas that examine different social topics, HK+Acumen kick-started its first salon on the topic of “Making Sense of Social Impact” on 11 April at Cafe 8 in Central. With a total of 8 participants, we examined social impact and had a great discussion.

Before participants came to the session, every participant was asked to do some preparation through reading Acumen’s Blog – NO! ITS NOT TOO MUCH TROUBLE TO MEASURE IMPACT and watching Invest in Social Change, by Ted Talk by Toby Eccles.

After breaking the ice, we started off the session by discussing the reasons why we believed social impact should be measured. Some suggested that the stiff competition for funding among social enterprises made accurate impact measurement more crucial, while some believed that it provided a common goal for organizations to strive to.

Although we all agreed that it is important to put organizations’ efforts in developing KPIs, we were unsure on how to approach such a task. We referred to Acumen’s framework, which guided us to think in three aspects, the focus (audience that we are targeting), breadth (number of people influenced) and depth (improvement on each individual). It may be difficult to cover all three and achieve the “sweet spot” at first, as doing so depends on the stage of development of the organization—whether it is preliminary or mature, and the objective itself.

Our participants shared examples of organizations that they are familiar with, and how they could make use of the Acumen framework. For instance, “Personal Emergency Link” offered by Senior Citizen Home Safety Association has a clear focus on lone elderly in Hong Kong. Its social impact can be measured by the number of users, as well as the improvement made on an individual level, such as the percentage decrease in accidents and emergency admissions through the use of the service.

The salon ended with an “ah-ha” session—during which participants shared their key takeaways. The one that inspired me the most is that a lot of times, we stop at the “outcome” part and ignore the assessment of “impact”, the relatively longer term effect.

Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience to look into such an interesting and important social topic together with people from different backgrounds. More sessions will be hosted in the future so that we can keep inspiring and be inspired!

If you are interested in joining next time, please send us an email at hk@plusacumen.org. Event information will also be sent through email or posted on our website/Facebook. Stay tuned!

 

Monique Wong