Making Even More of a Difference, Creating Even Greater Value


As leaders of organisations who are delivering social good, there is no doubting that you are committed to making even more of a difference and to creating even greater value. The challenge is how to fulfil that ambition. The purpose of this article is to share the headline messages of a presentation that was made at the inaugural 3SC Member’s Event held in June 2019, which focussed on social impact and social value assessment.


It is hoped that this article will provide useful insight for individual organisations progressing with their impact management journey, as well as facilitating greater collaboration across the 3SC Member’s Network in relation to this critically important business process. A case study of how a specific charity is utilising the ideas and approaches set out in this article was shared with colleagues at the June 3SC Member’s Event.


The case study is available by contacting Simon Penhall (Helmepark Ltd) at email:


Four Key Messages

Helmepark Ltd is an organisation with a long and successful track record of supporting organisations delivering social good to capture and utilise performance insight to drive performance improvement. Through that period we have come to recognise that there a number of key messages that organisations need to embrace:


  • Key message 1 – ensuring that you are successful in your ambition to make even more of a difference involves a process of learning and improvement.


  • Key message 2 – the learning you require is to develop an ever deepening understanding of the relationship between your service provision and the social good that you wish to create.


  • Key message 3 – the application of Theory of Change is the starting point of the process of learning and improvement, and ultimately making even more of a difference.


  • Key message 4 – the hard and messy fact is that organisations change (and improve) only when the people in them change. This requires leaders to utilise change management best practice.


A Process of Learning and Improvement

Many, if not all, of you will be aware of the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Action) model for learning and improvement, also referred to as performance management. An organisation’s planning process needs to establish:


  • An unambiguous Mission Statement – the operational anchor for everything an organisation does that includes: (1) The Who – who the organisation is targeting with its services; (2) The What – the change the organisation pledges to make with the target group; and (3) The How – a high level description of how the organisation plans to make this change


  • The Programme Design – a detailed service offering that the organisation believes will deliver the required change. The national What Works Network is a valuable resource for helping you to understand what works in delivering required change in a broad range of social policy areas.


  • A Performance Management System – this sets out the data that is required for both strategic and operational decision making. It is critically important that the performance measurement system is embedded within organisational practice prior to the Doing phase, so that the phases of Check and Action are undertaken utilising the best available performance insight.


The Beginning of Making a Difference

Theory of Change is recognised as the starting point for making a difference and assessing social value . Theory of Change provides an evidence-based, thoughtful and participatory approach to planning that lays the foundation for embedding fit for purpose performance management. Using Theory of Change enables stakeholders to develop a shared and detailed understanding of why the change is required, how that change is going to be achieved, the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders within that change process and the performance data that is required for effective performance management. The co-production of an Outcomes Pathway, as a visual representation of the change, alongside a supporting narrative, is a key element of the approach.


Leadership of Performance Improvement

The hard and messy fact is that organisations change (and improve) only when the people in them change. An effort to modify and improve how work gets done in a company is successful only when people in that organisation embrace the idea behind it, work in ways that it prescribes, experience the results, and spread their enthusiasm for it to others. If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.


Creating Contagious Commitment including the Tipping Point Model of Change and the Tipping Point workshop and computer simulation, helps organisations better understand and implement positive change utilising change management best practice. The approach starts from the basis that organisational change is about people and that the challenge is how to create a contagion with regards to an idea for improvement, recognising that at some point in the development of that contagion, a critical point occurs – Tipping Point – at which there is sufficient commitment to ensure a self-sustaining process of change.


I trust you find this article useful in your ongoing journey of making even more of a difference and creating even more value. For further information or support in relation to any aspect of what is outlined in this article, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with the author.


Simon Penhall, Managing Director, Helmepark Ltd,