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The Difference Between Outcomes And Impact

It’s easy to measure what you did (gave a vaccine, educated a child). It’s much harder to figure out how that affects a life after you’re gone.

Gina Klein Jorasch is the director of public management and social innovation programs at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. The program is incredibly influential in the social entrepreneurship world, and often spins off real companies from its classes.

The true challenge, as we’ve heard before, is to figure out how to measure whether your innovation is truly effective. Jorasch draws the distinction between measuring outcomes as opposed to impact. Outcomes are often simple to look at: children educated, vaccines given, microloans provided. But the world is a complicated place. Does just giving the education make a difference? How do you measure that as part of an entire life full of inputs? The closer we can get to an answer, the easier it will be to focus on interventions that work.

This video is part of a series on prominent social innovators, convened by PwC during the 2011 Social Innovation Summit and discussing their work that we’ll be hosting here on Co.Exist.

Here’s a little preview of everyone who will be featured.