Conceptual overview of the BVI Model
- Stage 1: Set the context focuses information gathered on the organisational and community context through Strategic Perspectives and the Value Lenses.
- Stage 2: Design the framework populates a defined logical BVI Framework with decisions about what and whom to measure and how to do that measurement.
- Stage 3: Implement the framework is the project management phase, where each of the mini-plans set in Stage 2 is set into action and data is gathered that will, over time, become the impact evidence base.
- Stage 4: Narrate the outcomes and results collates, analyses and turns the evidence into an impact narrative shared with interested stakeholders, especially decision makers.
- Stage 5: Review and respond activities should be embedded throughout to establish the iterative and cyclical nature of impact assessment.
A narrative summary might state the following.
- Rich digital content is available for existing users and new audiences, placing content in every home and hand to share and make new personal experiences. This resource has changed our stakeholders’ behaviour in ways that link to benefits in education, social life, community cohesion, a sense of place and improved welfare. (Social impact)
- Because of these changes we are also delivering substantial economic benefits to our stakeholders that demonstrate the worth and value of our endeavours in clear monetary terms. (Economic impact)
- Innovation in the building of the digital resource and its functionality means that we are gaining a strategic advantage in a vital area of activity for the future sustainability of services and engagement. (Innovation impact)
- This digital resource enables our organisation to be more effective and efficient in delivering change and resultant benefits to stakeholders, both internally and externally. (Operational impact)
In combination, stages 1 and 5 express the essential novel components of the BVI Model. These stages provide an additional sense of perspective on the overall impact assessment. Perspective drives all assessments of impact, and so the BVI Model intends to ensure that perspective is clearly understood and purposefully decided. Impact derives power from providing actionable evidence to decision makers.
Without engaging in the process of understanding context and then applying that context to the review and respond stage of the impact assessment, it is highly possible that the impact narrative and results are partial, unusable or lacking in actionable meaning.
The middle stages (2, 3 and 4) are standard activities in almost any assessment of impact. They are required to fulfil the BVI Model. It is notable, though that it would be entirely possible to ignore the first stage and jump straight to Stage 2. Where this happens, then the BVI Model is set aside. However, there are many situations where impact assessment is an exercise of fulfilling a government requirement, measuring a key performance indicator (KPI) or a simple evaluation. In such circumstances, it may be entirely sensible to jump straight to the process from Stage 2 onwards.
The BVI Model is best suited for memory institutions and presumes that the assessment is mostly (but not exclusively) measuring change within the ecosystem of a digital resource.
A user’s journey through the BVI Model to Framework might look as follows.
- In thinking about the memory institution’s strategic direction, they map their existent documents/policies/vision statements to the four Strategic Perspectives.
- They can then use these to focus on their context, investigating the digital ecosystem and the stakeholders and to analyse the situation of the organisation further.
- These provide a strategic context that allows for decision making about what is to be measured and why that measurement is needed.
- The practitioner can then use the Value Lens to focus attention on those aspects most productive for measurement in that context.
- The Framework (often a spreadsheet – see Templates) can then be completed for each Perspective-Value pairing.
- This output is built into an action plan for implementation at Stage 3, where the integration of what needs to be measured is related to the practicalities of time, money and other resources.
- Once all this planning is achieved, then the implementation is phased according to the Framework, and data is gathered alongside any activity measured. The timeframe might be a few months for one measure and more extended periods for others – the Framework helps to keep it all in sync and not to lose track of the varied activities.
- Once a critical mass of data is gathered such that results can be inferred, then the process can start to move into the analysis; narrated via the four Strategic Perspectives: Social, Economic, Innovation and Operational.
- This narrative acts as a prompt to decision makers and stakeholders to guide future direction and to justify current situations.
- The stage 5 of revision, reflection and respond assumes that there is embedded continuous learning to allow for decisions made in every stage to be informed by the results and to be modified in response to change, to feedback and to success criteria.
Further reflection on the possible institutional benefits derived from an evidence-based decision-making process helps to turn ideas into action and promote sustainable change management. Most importantly, impact assessment should be about making ever deeper connections with stakeholders so as to work with them in response to the evidence and insights gained. This relationship is the most likely means of gaining the greatest benefits for all.