Constructing an Impact Framework in KOLOLA


Tips for setting up an impact framework in KOLOLA which will allow busy users to quickly and accurately record their achievements in a way that is useful to the project.

Building a Framework

Step 1 - Create a List of Value Generating Activities

Before creating an impact framework, it is first necessary to understand what kind of activities your team might be doing so you can tailor your impact framework to be sensitive to the kind of impacts your users are having.

Start off by creating a list of potential activities and events your users might undertake, then categorising them into generic types to make them easier to sort through and organise.

For example, in the case of a PhD student, activities such as conference and journal publications, seminar presentations, industry collaborations, training courses and outreach events are all valuable activities they might do which their institution would be interested in.

You could then begin to categorise these activities into generic types:

Event Type Activity
Conference Attendance
Professional Development Team Building
Training Course
Outreach General Public

Step 2 - Identify your Impact Indicators

Projects can have an impact across a range of different, albeit interconnected sectors. For example, RCUK focuses on research projects reporting on impact divided into three sectors which includes 'economic impact', 'academic/knowledge impact' and 'social impact'. Businesses and charities might also be interested in reporting on the training and skills development of their staff and/or their corporate social responsibility.

Once you know which impact sectors you are interested in, you can begin to identify the different impact indicators within those sectors which outline the likely areas that impact could be generated.

For example, if you were looking at your social impact as a research project, one of your indicators might be 'cultural enrichment', which you might describe as activities and impacts on cultural enrichment (creativity, curation, heritage). For your economic impact, one of your indicators might be 'attracting R&D investment', which you might describe as 'Attracting translational R&D investment (e.g. VCs, SMEs, global enterprises)'.

For each sector you have an interest in, list as many impact indicators as you can, including a descriptor of what they cover.

Step 3 - Generate YES/NO Assessment Statements

Now that you have your list of impact indicators, you will need to translate them into YES/NO assessment statements to be presented to users entering their records into the system, making the process as quick and simple as possible.

For example, if your indicator was 'attracting R&D investment', you could translate this into a YES/NO statement such as 'I attracted R&D investment from a VC, SME or Global Enterprise'.

Create a list of YES/NO assessment statements next to your list of impact indicators. It is best to keep your assessment statements as short as possible. Typically, most impact indicators can be summarised by a single well written statement. Remember that the more statements you produce, the more your users will potentially need to process whenever they record a related activity

Step 4 - Map Assessment Statements to Activities

Now that you know what activities your users are likely to engage in (your event types), and have listed the impact indicators and corresponding YES/NO statements you are interested in capturing data about, you can begin to map the statements to each one based on what impacts may be potentially relevant to what is being recorded.

The easiest way to map this is to produce a matrix of activities (event types) against assessment statements, then in each instance decide if the statement is relevant to the activity. Naturally, it is not always possible to predict what kinds of impacts might be achieved for every given event type, so in cases where you are unsure of the relevancy, it's best to leave the statement available to the user.

Step 5 - Create your KOLOLA Framework

Once you have your completed statement matrix, you can begin to set up your KOLOLA framework. The best order to do this is as follows (use the links for more detailed instructions on each process):

  1. Set up your impact indicators.
  2. Set up your event types and assign your YES/NO assessment statements to them as corresponds to your statement matrix.
  3. Optionally, you can also set up and assign evidence capture for specific YES/NO assessment statements which trigger when users select 'YES' and will ask them to submit evidence in a specified for, including text, integers, documents and/or web-links.