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Impact sprint and why they are important

Kelsey Nash, Jan. 31, 2024

An Impact Sprint is more than a 'buzz word.' It allows you to agree on and achieve the outcomes your organisation needs.

What makes the Impact Sprint unique

Business leaders face the constant challenge of managing projects across many teams. They might frame this challenge as a programme of 'innovation', 'transformation', or 'change'.

Here at Unboxed, we have spotted a need to support effective strategy measurement. This gives businesses confidence when facing uncertainty. Inspired by Theory of Change and Impact Measurement, we’ve designed a 10-day sprint. During the sprint, we map out the impact an organisation wants to deliver. We have called this an 'Impact Sprint'.

Navigating the realm of 'Impact'

We often associate the word ‘impact’ with the effect that businesses have on social or environmental needs, but the meaning can differ from organisation to organisation.

Some examples of how commercial businesses might measure impact include:

  • patients reporting that they are able to get an appointment with the right consultant at the right time, measured through qualitative feedback
  • an increase in the number of students signing up for university courses compared to previous years
  • higher scores for technical infrastructure security assessments
  • education in plastic waste within a specific community, measured through targeted audits

Want to understand how you might measure impact in your business?

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Unravelling the importance for business

A 2023 Harvard Business Review study found that high-performing companies are 60% more likely to prioritise impact measurement than their counterparts (Harvard Business, 2023).

Many companies suffer from too much analysis and too many projects. They lack alignment across departments, resulting in minimal business impact. Stakeholders may feel like they are giving up too much time for discussions. Additionally, these discussions may not result in anything down the line.

Projects are rarely organised into well-defined programs with discrete start and end dates. Instead, they tend to emerge at random. There is little visibility of how or why they actually exist, or when they might deliver.

Whether you lead a public body, charity, or social enterprise focused on improving service users' lives and their environment, or a commercial organisation, you need a clear view of the outcomes each initiative aims to deliver. You also need to know how to assess those outcomes over time.

Unboxed acknowledges the importance of leaders understanding the big picture. They ensure alignment for each project with organisational goals. That's why we created Impact Sprints. Employees will experience ten days of close collaboration. They will align and devise measures for collective positive change within a specific period.

How do you measure impact?

This is a small but loaded question and it depends on your business's individual needs. Measuring impact and setting goals may sound simple. However, if a goal is unrealistic or lacks defined metrics, it can decrease morale, motivation, and quality of work. This can lead to employee burn-out, unmet KPIs, and more.

At the beginning of an Impact Sprint, Unboxed will take time to understand the impact you want to make and how this could be measured. We will also work with your internal teams to test their understanding of the desired impact.

At Unboxed, we have skilled user researchers who can help you capture data and insights from end customers or service users. End customers and service users are key parts of the jigsaw puzzle. User research is often qualitative rather than quantitative. However, you may be able to gather more obvious metrics to measure business impact. For example, you could track the number of your subscribers or people who are aware of your product.

In this context, data can also include reports, notes from post-programme evaluation meetings, reflections, interviews, and feedback.


Why can’t you do an Impact Sprint yourself?

You are experts in your field. You know your business proposition and the way your organisation works better than anyone else. But implementing a strategy whilst managing day-to-day business operations is complex. It is often hard to see clearly what is working and what isn’t.

75% of employees report difficulty in measuring their own impact (Gallup Study, 2022). 52% of businesses struggle to allocate enough budget for comprehensive impact measurement programs (Deloitte Survey, 2021).

Here at Unboxed, we have been mastering our craft for over 18 years. Along the way, we have formed close relationships with our clients, helping them find a clear path through complexity.

We have the know-how to run a successful Impact Sprint. We take time to understand what you as a business want to achieve. Investing in an Impact Sprint will allow you to be more efficient with your company’s time, saving money. It can help you set up for success immediately.

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Key challenges you will encounter

At Unboxed, we are upfront about any challenges that may occur. We will work with you to understand and manage expectations. Here are some challenges you may encounter along the road:

Getting time from busy people within your organisation

Only 38% of companies have dedicated teams or individuals equipped for impact measurement (World Business Council for Sustainable Development, 2020).

We'll use time efficiently in the Impact Sprint. We have a pre-set agenda for clear involvement. Success requires making the Sprint a top priority to maximise your investment.

Understanding how an Impact Sprint can help your business

Interested but still don’t know how this will relate to your business? That’s okay! Contact us to discuss your company. We can give you guidance on what will benefit you the most.

Board / Stakeholder approval

Many companies we work with require approval running an Impact Sprint and you may see this as a hurdle. That’s not an issue for us. Unboxed can work with you on a proposal and outline to get this approved and implemented.

Understanding an Impact Sprint agenda will look like

We break down the components further in our next blog to give you more of an idea what an Impact Sprint entails. If you still have questions after reading this blog, please contact us for further information.


Find out more about Impact Sprints

Want to understand how Impact Sprints can benefit your business in 2024? Read more information here.

Customise your Impact Sprints

Sprints can be customised. We are certain it can be achieved in 10 days with most companies. However, we acknowledge that sometimes it’s not one-size-fits-all. If you believe that you may only need 5 days or 15 days, we can cater to this. Contact us to speak about your options.

When can I start an Impact Sprint?

The best thing about Impact Sprints is that you can run one at any time throughout the year. Talk to us now to get started!