First, let’s clarify some key terms we’ll use throughout this guide. These concepts form the backbone of your social impact strategy and will help you articulate and measure your studio’s impact.
- Activities: The specific actions, initiatives, core tasks, and projects that your studio engages in.
- Outputs: These are the direct products of your activities. They are the tangible and intangible goods or services produced from your work (e.g., a published game, a completed client project, or a social media campaign).
- Inputs: These are the resources you need to carry out your activities (e.g., funding, collaborators, audience research, computers).
- Intended impact: This is the change you will be accountable for. It’s a hypothesis about what will lead to your desired ultimate outcome. Your intended impact statement is not about your activities, projects, or strategy but rather the change you aim to make. It’s about defining success for your studio and committing to your activities and outputs. It should clearly describe what you will achieve, who will benefit, and by when.
- Ultimate outcome statement: This describes how the world looks if you are successful. It’s a vision of your dream world — how it would be if you achieved the desired change. You should word your ultimate outcome statement in the present tense and not worry about the scope or scale. What feels right — is right! It doesn’t have to feel achievable or realistic right now.
- Results flow: Also known as a theory of change or results chain, a results flow is a visual map of the sequence of events – from activities to outcomes – that lead to your ultimate outcome. It illustrates what you need to do and what you expect to achieve along the way.
Understanding these concepts is the first step in developing a results flow for your studio. In this article, we’ll get into the details of how these elements relate and how you can use them to plan and implement your studio’s social impact strategy.