Learning from Stories and measuring impact with the Journey Stories Method
The NOI Project aims to understand how stories’ impact can be measured, that’s why we worked on a Toolkit for practitioners and facilitators that will help them to use storytelling as a tool for the creation and the measurement of impact.
In the last article, we discussed the methods of measuring impact with stories. Another method for measuring the impact of stories is to learn from stories.
It is important to think through how you will work with the knowledge and learnings of people’s stories to inform them of what you are doing. If people share their stories and don’t see how those experiences are used to learn and progress, it may put people off from sharing their experiences in the future.
The Theory of Change
It may be useful and could be quite powerful to implement the Theory of Change (TOC) method throughout the process. Theory of Change is a service design methodology that helps charities and NGOs to improve their decisions and strategy.
It is achieved by doing 2 main things:
• Being clear about the change they want to see in the world.
• Understanding how this will be done – what method/s will be used.
The following, are four benefits of using the Theory of Change:
1. It helps CEOs and the whole team to think hard about the service – what it’s for and how it’s designed
2. Team Building – bringing people together to get some consensus about what your organisation is trying to achieve.
3. Impact measurement – being equipped to know what data needs to be collected to improve services and demonstrate success.
4. Communications- A TOC is a good way to engage with stakeholders including funders. It demonstrates that there is a thoughtful and methodical process behind the aims and objectives of the organisation and the organisation’s goals.
For organisations to learn from the stories collected it would be useful to implement the sense-making from the stories gathered and compare them against impact indicators from the TOC method. This could help to evidence the organisation’s Theory of Change and meet the goals of the organisation laid down by the TOC.
Journey Stories Method
Now we want to talk about another method to use stories for measuring impact, which is the Journey Stories Method.
This method is an interesting and creative way to record and measure impact using the structure of a narrative or series of events. A journey could be physical in terms of a person or people making their way from one place to another. It could be a process of self-discovery in which someone experiences personal development or change. Or it could be a story of how a project moved from an idea to a reality or a mixture of all of these.
Everyone lives journey experiences as part of their own life story and therefore people can easily relate to other people’s journey stories. Using Journey Stories as a way of measuring impact allows the person to reflect on the distance travelled.
• where they started
• what they found on the way
• the end of the journey or where they are now and their future direction.
Journey Stories measures impact in a personal and reflective way making this method very empathetic. This method could be used to measure the impact of a particular issue, project, or service.
Now that we have explored the methods for measuring impact with stories, we are confident that these are going to be a benefit for all organizations.
Find below an example of the Journey Stories method.
If you want to understand more about how stories’ impact can be measured, read the Toolkit