Sunday, 29 May 2011

When I say "Impact", you say "Model"!

There is tool that exists for planning that has power you cannot imagine. It takes the form of a simple table-like structure. It is labelled with simple initials that are the most meaningful sets of two letters in the history of the world. Yes, I am talking about the Impact Model, my new favourite business tool! They make me get all excited inside!

Alright, in all seriousness now, the Impact Model is a tool used to define the value towards certain customers or stakeholders (or in most EWB cases, who is impacted by the project) touched by a project or initiative.

Check out the chart-looking thing. That is an outline of an impact model. It is the skeleton. All that is missing is the juicy, meaningful, meaty parts inside.

Okay, let’s start with the backbone; the middle part of the model, indicated by the “VP”.

Value Proposition (VP):
This is what the initiative is bringing, and essentially the expected impact or outcome. Ask yourself, “what is the value I intend to bring?”

Customer Segment (CS):
Who are you impacting? Who are the stakeholders?

Channels (CH):
How are you going to do it? What means?  Brochures?  Presentations?

Customer Relations (CR):
How are you going to appeal to, or influence your customers?

Revenue Streams (R$):
Where are funds coming in from? Most projects need cash.

Key Activities (KA):
What are the key get-rights of your initiatives? What are the meat-and-potato actions?

Key Resources (KR):
What do you need to do it? This can be in the form of people, paper-products, whatever.

Key Partnerships (KP):
Who do you need that is not directly involved? This usually falls along the lines of sponsorship, or permission from authority figures.

Cost Structure (C$):
What is going to burn a hole in your pocket book? Where is the money going?

Okay, so this is a crazy simple breakdown. But I hope I conveyed the basic set-up and what goes into an impact model. If you're feeling really ambitious, try using it for a problem you are working on, or create a hypothetical business or development situation!

The reasons I am attracted to impact models is: one, they give structure to an initiative and ensure you touch upon all bases. Having an outline can be extremely helpful, as it gives you a place to start. It forces you to ask yourself certain questions. Two, since it has an outline, it can be shared among partners and they can easily see what you are trying to achieve.

Sure, there are cautions when using such models. Sometimes, it is easy to get caught up in the whole structure thing and you stress yourself out trying to fit your ideas into generic categories. However, I believe that if you keep in mind it is simply a guideline, this problem can totally be avoided. The pros of impact models far outweigh the challenges of a framework. 

If you have any questions about impact models, just holler!

Later days,

No comments:

Post a Comment