By Susan Balet, Stone Soup consultant specialized in social impat measurement
On April 10th and 11th, Stone Soup Consulting had the opportunity to be part of the Social Value Matters conference in Istanbul. This annual conference, organised by Social Value International and KUSIF, was aimed at how best to amplify voices, inspire change and maximise value while raising awareness on how social value matters. It might seem something obvious for all of us participating at the conference – we were all related to the social sector and social value drives our work. But the topic of the conference made me ask myself the following question: do we stop in our daily busy lives to check and reflect if we are really adding social value through what we do? Do we talk to our stakeholders openly enough to find out if we are or not creating value for all sides? Are we creating the space in our organisations to discuss if we could be generating a negative impact? Do we let that reflection happen?
If I give myself a minute, my response is clearly and unfortunately “not really”. Not so often in the social sector and neither in the private sector. I truly believe we still have to integrate a learning approach in our work. We need to keep evolving towards management models that allow us to integrate those tools and practices that will firmly help answer clearly to these questions. As well as social impact measurement and evaluation, that will let us stop for a minute and think. By doing this we will be able to observe, feel and maybe fully understand the social value we create, if any. The worst news is that we might find we are creating negative externalities. Although never intended, we must be aware that good intentions can sometimes lead to negative consequences.