Colin Boyle: Social Impact Metrics
Though he worked 15 years with the Boston Consulting Group and currently serves as the first ever Deputy Director of UCSF Global Health Sciences, Colin Boyle found inspiration and surprises in teaching Strategic Management for Nonprofit Organizations at Haas: “Teaching the class has been an amazing experience for me. Exhausting too — I feel drained after each class because the Haas students keep me on my toes at all times with their insight and ideas.”
The course, which culminates each year with a series of presentations on business plans meeting a particular social need for new nonprofits, has been integral to CSSL students and the larger population at Haas. Colin sees the passion in his students and hopes the interest and intent bleeds into their plans for the future. Recognizing the various avenues to and opportunities in the social sector (as a Board member of a nonprofit, a volunteer, or a staff leader), Colin enjoys the “high level of intellectual curiosity combined with selflessness [that] is very ‘Haas’” that students bring to the topic.
Come this fall, Colin will be teaching another course: Social Impact Metrics. “The chance to teach a course in a space that is evolving so rapidly is very exciting,” Colin notes, “as it provides Haas with an opportunity to advance our collective thinking on the issues involved. Measurement in the social sector is in its early days. There is a lot of energy and innovation in the field around finding better ways to measure impact, but no silver bullets yet.”
Colin hopes the course will help students understand different ways to calculate impact and how to make decisions on the basis of uncertain or incomplete information in a sector of the economy that is difficult to quantify. It is sometimes measured in dollars or lives, but just as often is an immeasurable impact or movement to achieve change in people and society. By working in a collaborative manner, the course will aim to help build an understanding of “what works and what doesn’t and ensure that our collective efforts are aimed at those activities that will do the most good.”
Colin knows these difficulties first-hand, and knows how difficult it can be to decide on the correct metrics to show what is working, what isn’t, and why. Hopefully, the passion and dedication he has seen in his Strategic Management students will carry over into the Metrics course. “I [find] that my personal experiences [are] often the most interesting to students,” Colin said, “and I plan to do the same in this new course.”