June 13, 2014

Matt Groch to Offer Keynote on Measuring Impact at #14LCS


This September 3-6, NTEN will debut the Leading Change Summit. In addition to the conversations with participants in three separate tracks, #14LCS includes a stellar lineup of keynote speakers who will spark new conversations and nudge existing conversations to introduce new questions.

mattgrochheadshot.jpgToday we’re excited to share that Matt Groch, Director of Solution Delivery at Mission Measurement, will offer a keynote called Moneyball for Social Impact, Or how I learned to stop worrying and embrace the implications of a discrete closed-loop factor analysis framework for social impact. How do we measure social change? Matt will show us how.

As Director of Solution Delivery, Matt is responsible for defining and curating Mission Measurement’s suite of products and services. Matt is a research and information technology executive with key competencies in measurement and analytics, business process engineering and optimization, product development, and organizational management.

Prior to joining Mission Measurement, Matt served as Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President at Edelman Berland (formally StrategyOne) where he led the firm’s social media analytics practice and associated product development initiatives. Matt has served in roles focused on the strategic application of technology across a broad spectrum of industries, including healthcare, telecommunications, high-speed discrete manufacturing, and capital markets. In addition, Matt co-founded and served as Director of Technology for 2MC, a Chicago-based internet consulting firm. Matt is the recipient of the 2011 Edelman Chicago “Eddy” Award for Innovation.

To get a jump-start on conversations for LCS, we asked Matt a few questions, shared below.

Do you have any tips for keeping some perspective amidst all these numbers between actions, tactics, and social impact?

First off, in terms of metrics, you need to be very clear in your own mind as to what the exact intended end use of that data will be. Collecting data simply for the sake of collecting data can be expensive—particularly if you think of it from the perspective of the opportunity cost to providing more services to your organization’s beneficiaries. An oft-recommended general best practice is to start with an idea of the set of specific decisions you want to be able to make using data and then work your way backward from there to determine the metrics needed to produce that data.

Ultimately, however, it all comes down to social impact—and in that sense, you want to focus the lion’s share of your metrics-gathering efforts on the tangible social outcomes you are trying to produce. I think there are two key points to keep in mind here.

First, “size” your outcomes appropriately: be realistic and honest with yourself about what impact your organization is really in a position to affect and demarcate your outcomes accordingly; if your organization delivers after-school tutoring to local area 5th graders, you’re probably moving the needle more on increasing literacy rates for those children than improving college completion rates at the national level.

Second, align your measurement efforts to your outcomes as much as possible; ideally, measure the outcomes directly, and when direct measurements aren’t possible due to practical reasons (e.g., time, cost), leverage the evidence-based social science research available to identify the strongest leading indicators and capture metrics on those.

Can you offer any advice for finding, gathering, or sourcing good data to inform their strategies?

A lot of social science research has already been done, so don’t start from scratch if you don’t need to. Resources like the What Works Clearinghouse, the Promising Practices Network, et al are probably good places to start.

How do you think technology will change the way we make social change in 10 years?

I think we are quickly approaching an inflection point for how technology will affect our capacity for social impact. By virtue of the work we’re doing at Mission Measurement, I believe that in ten years’ time, we will be leveraging technology for massive increases in efficiency in terms of how resources are allocated across the social sector. Today, resources for social impact are allocated randomly for the most part. But imagine ten years from now, where the infrastructure for social finance is built out to support a literal social impact market, where “buyers” of social impact (e.g., governments, foundations) can put out an “ask” for a specific outcome (e.g. increase access to college education for disadvantage inner city populations) and “sellers” of social impact (e.g., nonprofits and other service providers) can then bid on the opportunity using standard metrics that transparently articulate their cost per unit of “impact.”

Upon registration, #14LCS participants choose one of three tracks—Digital Strategy, The Future of Technology, or Impact Leadership—and spend a good deal of time in track-specific sessions. That’s one reason we’re looking forward to Matt’s talk: along with two other keynotes and some meals and receptions, this will be an opportunity for all participants to be together and discuss some of the critical issues affecting their abilities to use technology to create social change.

Learn what Matt Groch and his team are working on at @MissionMeasure.

And check out the full lineup of #14LCS speakers and facilitators!

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