Social Value Matters 2017, Istanbul, Turkey, April 2017
The city of Istanbul –its richness, uniqueness, beauty and complexity – was, perhaps, the perfect place to host a conference on valuing, measuring, scaling and sharing social value.
While aspects of life in Istanbul might be recognisable to people from both the ‘east’ and the ‘west’ I’d suggest that you’ll never develop a true understanding of and connection with the place without engaging deeply with it and its people.
So, too social value and social value measurement. While we might recognise its value – even understand its principles – truly connecting with it takes thought, consideration and engagement with the people whose lives we are trying to affect.
The theme of engaging stakeholders in program or service design was central to the Social Value Matters 17 conference which I attended both as an individual but also as a director on the board of SIMNA Ltd, one of the conference convener’s member organisations. The conference attracted 250 attendees and speakers from 25 countries.
Wonderfully and capably hosted by Koc University Social Impact Forum (KUSIF) at its beautiful campus on the outskirts of Istanbul, the third annual Social Value International conference brought together practitioners, academics, students, philanthropists, government and others to connect, engage, challenge and share. But the conference was also part-aspirational – by facilitating discussions and workshops it was inspiring us to continue to build this social value movement by connecting its common principles and identifying ways in which we could demonstrate and grow it locally.
As a director on the board of Social Value International’s Australian arm, SIMNA Ltd, I was particularly inspired by the sense of shared challenge and opportunity that attending such a diverse global forum provides those of us working to increase the awareness and practice of social impact measurement. It opened my eyes to the many things that we share with others in this community globally and of how much we can learn from others along the journey.