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Measuring the value of Social Innovation

Measuring the value of Social Innovation

Thursday, 29 November 2012
09:00 - 11:00
The Work Foundation, 21 Palmer Street, London, SW1H 0AD


• Cliff Prior, Chief Executive, Unltd
• Lizzie Crowley, Senior Researcher, The Work Foundation
• Kieron Kirkland, Development Research Manager, Nominet Trust
• Neil Lee, Head of Socio-Economic Centre, The Work Foundation (Chair)

Details of the roundtable:

How to measure social value and social impact is not a new debate however there are a number of new policy drivers that are making it more pressing concern than ever before. These include: the Public Services (Social Value) Act; the acceleration of moves towards payment by results and outcomes commissioning model for the public sector; public sector austerity, more generally; as well as the emergence of a social investment whereby investors seek both financial and social returns.

But establishing a causal link between activity and especially long-term impact (the attribution problem) is extremely complex and messy business even before you try to put a monetary value on it. This session focused on the challenge of measuring the value of social innovation. 

Key points from the session:

• Measuring value and impact is inherently challenging, not least because value is subjective, success can mean different things for different people.
• The beneficiary is the most important – organisations should look to find out and measure the six things that matter most to the beneficiary. 
• Where a social venture is on the growth spectrum is important – the ability to demonstrate social value and impact will be completely different for new innovative start up compared to an established venture.
• Funders are attracted to those organisations that can demonstrate their impact, those who can’t do this are likely to lose out.
• Big data and open data have the potential to provide new – potentially more cost effective - ways of measuring impact. While digital technology offers new ways to capture the value of initiatives. 
• Social investment is likely to develop as a boutique market – but there is the potential to develop shared metrics for sub-sectors i.e. shared measurements across the NEET sector.  

To find out further information about this event please contact Lizzie Crowley on 0207 976 3616 or

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