Set out the benefit

Demonstrate that your work is producing the intended impact on users and achieving the overall desired outcome.

When to do it

Do this after you have set out the intended impact of your work (see the chapter: convert user needs into impact).

How to do it

You should:

  • review the impact that you want your work to have (see chapter: convert user needs into impact)

  • identify what evidence will show that your work is having an impact on users and achieving the overall desired outcome

  • find out if there is existing evidence that you can reuse - if you can’t find any, then identify what new evidence you will collect

  • report what the evidence says about current circumstances, before any change is made

  • estimate what the evidence will say in the future:

    • where you have delivered your changes

    • where no action was taken

  • track the evidence during and after your work

Try this activity

This activity will help you identify evidence to show that your work is having its intended impact on users. It will give you measures to track and sources of evidence.

Time, space and materials

  • 75 minutes

  • any space with a wall, sticky notes, paper, and pens for a face-to-face event

  • or for a remote event use a video conference and online whiteboard that will take the place of the wall and enable participants to add and move online ‘sticky notes’

Preparation

People to include

  • your team

  • a data analyst and subject matter experts, if you are working on a complex problem

  • a facilitator to provide the instructions

Instructions

The purpose of this activity is to identify evidence that will show our work is having an impact on all users and achieving the desired outcome.

This part of the activity is to choose how to measure impact.

  1. One person should talk through the impacts that have been identified.

  2. Everyone should now write down types of evidence that will show the impact. Try to make them specific and measurable. Write 1 type of evidence per sticky note. You have 3 minutes.

  3. Stick your ideas to the wall under the relevant impact.

  4. Assign your participants in equal groups to each of the impacts.

  5. Read all of the ideas under your impact. Group together similar ideas and label the groups with descriptive titles. You have 3 minutes.

  6. Choose a volunteer for each impact to tell everyone what you have found. You have 1 minute each.

  7. Everyone now gets to vote for the type of evidence they think is most important. You have 3 votes per impact. Put your votes in the same place or share them around, it’s up to you. You have 1 minute to vote.

  8. Discuss any areas of disagreement and see if you can come to a consensus view. Remove the unpopular ideas from the wall.

  9. Your task now is to write down the specific measures that would show the impacts. For example, if your intended impact was to spend less on stationary and your evidence is invoices, the specific measure might be expenditure per month on printer paper. Work on all the impacts. Write 1 measure per sticky note. You have 5 minutes.

  10. Stick your ideas to the wall.

  11. Go back to the impact that you were working on before. Review the measures. Select which of the measures will give you enough information on the impact. Can you improve them and make them more specific. You have 5 minutes.

  12. Choose a volunteer for each impact to tell everyone what you have found. You have 1 minute each. After each person has spoken, everyone will provide feedback and edit the measures on the spot.

This part of the activity is to identify how you will get the evidence.

  1. For each of the specific measures think about what existing evidence is available. Write 1 evidence source per sticky note. You have 3 minutes.

  2. Stick your ideas to the wall next to the measures. Read other people’s ideas as you do so and group together similar ones.

  3. Assign 1 person to each of the impacts.

  4. Tell everyone what evidence sources are available for your measures. You have 1 minute each. After each person has spoken, everyone will provide feedback and edit the measures on the spot.

  5. For any measure that does not have an existing source of evidence, you should suggest ideas for creating new evidence. Your new evidence must not burden the user by giving them extra work. Everyone should review all of the measures without a source of evidence. Write 1 idea per sticky note and stick them to the wall. You have 5 minutes.

  6. Go back to the impact that you were working on before. Review the new sources of evidence. Select which of the sources will give the best evidence with the lowest effort. Put any sources where there are lots of constraints like cost or policy toward the bottom. You have 5 minutes.

  7. Choose a volunteer for each impact to tell everyone what you have found. You have 1 minute each. After each person has spoken, everyone will provide feedback and edit the measures on the spot.

  8. You now have identified specific benefit measures for each of your intended impacts and you have identified the evidence sources that will demonstrate the change.

Tips

  • Use different coloured sticky notes for impacts, measures, existing evidence, and new evidence

  • Refer to the activity in build on existing evidence to find out what existing evidence you could reuse

  • If you want to collect new evidence, try a small experiment to test how this will work before you launch the full policy, product or service

  • A convincing way of proving that your work is benefiting users is to ask some – but not all - users to test your policy, product or service. Compare their experience to those that did not use your policy, product or service

Next steps

  • Use your evidence to say how things are now, before you have made any changes. Then estimate what the future will look like:

    • when you have delivered your changes

    • where no action was taken

Further reading

Find out more about this topic by searching the internet for: