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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday October 25, 2023

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Nicole McNeilly

Nicole McNeilly

Impact Advisor , Europeana Foundation

Sign up now for our Impact Cafés and discover the online Impact Playbook

We are delighted to announce that the Europeana Impact Playbook is now available as an interactive, online resource! Discover how to use it, and sign up for our Impact Cafés to ask any questions you might have on how to learn more about your impact.

Seen from behind, a child holds their arms up in front of fields and the sun shining in the sky
Norwegian Pharmacy Museum

The Europeana Initiative started talking about impact over a decade ago. Our long-term goal is to support the sector to speak with a shared voice, and backed up by evidence, about the value of digital cultural heritage. Whether you were involved in those early discussions, have used the Impact Playbook since, or want to learn more, we want to bring you along on this impact journey.

We are now celebrating the launch of a revised and now online Impact Playbook. As part of this, the Europeana Impact Community is holding a series of informal cafés where we’ll meet and chat through some of the main changes in the content and approach, and the different opportunities and challenges of how you might put each Phase to use. But what if you can’t make the cafés? No problem. We’ll also be exploring the main themes in an introductory series here on Europeana Pro. Today we start with what we call phase zero - everything you need to know about impact and how we got here!

What’s the big picture?

We developed the Impact Playbook because we are convinced that impact thinking is for everyone. Even learning something small but meaningful about how our stakeholders experience our work can help us improve and have more impact. By using the Impact Playbook, more of us can start using impact thinking to plan and assess the impact of our work. It helps us to standardise the type of impact data we collect, prioritise the voices of our stakeholders and plan for the impact that we know can change the world.

What do we mean by impact?

Think of your impact as the long-term vision that gets you out of bed in the morning. This is often a shared goal, like a more tolerant or healthy society. You are not the only one that will be working towards this long-term goal, but you are accountable for being as impactful as possible where you can have a direct influence.

When we talk about impact assessment, we mean that you are measuring the contribution you are making in the short to medium term on the pathway towards impact - the way one change can inspire another. This is where impact thinking comes in. Impact assessments provide you with information about how your work creates value and help you to make decisions about where you are doing well and where you can do better. In short, to create more impact.

How does it work?

The Impact Playbook has been designed as a practical tool for impact-focused project design and impact assessment. It sets out an interactive approach that helps you to design for impact, plan an impact assessment, collect and analyse the data, draft your impact narrative and evaluate your approach.

A figure of eight loop with words at the four corners. 1. Design; 2. Measurement; 3. Narration; 4. Evaluation
The four stages of the Impact Playbook
Europeana Foundation
The Netherlands
A figure of eight loop with words at the four corners. 1. Design; 2. Measurement; 3. Narration; 4. Evaluation

Who is it for?

While it’s an approach that has learned from many other methods used in the cultural sector and beyond, the goal has always been to inspire with specialised content for digital cultural heritage professionals. We’ve been able to do this by developing the Impact Playbook with practitioners - from curators to researchers to project managers to archivists - from across Europe and other parts of the world. The Impact Playbook is something that you’ll implement with your team and in your organisation, whether you’re working from a leadership position or not. So the Impact Playbook is for you!

We also hope that how we’ve used the Impact Playbook to conduct own impact assessments is a source of inspiration for you. But even more, we always want to capture more case studies of how the Impact Playbook is being used in the Europeana Impact Community and beyond. If you have anything to share, get in touch!

How do I use it?

The Impact Playbook has been designed for you to work through by yourself. At different stages, we have added some learning and training activities to help you get confident with different aspects that we know can be tricky, like research methods and terminology. Get started by exploring the new online Playbook.

There might be some areas where you might want to get some extra help. If you have any questions about this or anything else about the Impact Playbook, you can join our informal Impact Community Cafés in November and December 2023 as we explore the online Europeana Impact Playbook with peers and colleagues from across the world.

Register through the links below:

We’re also publishing more detailed insights into each phase of the Impact Playbook in the next weeks, so keep an eye out for our news.

And finally, join the Europeana Impact Community to connect and learn from your peers in the cultural heritage sector, and discover new approaches for Impact.

What comes next?

In the longer-term, there are big questions we need to explore. We need to develop holistic indicators to help us measure and create change at an organisational and sector-level and in regional, national and international contexts. We need to think and design for impact that helps to improve the lives and wellbeing of Europe’s citizens while protecting and diversifying our digital collections. We know that we still have a long way to go, but we know that the Impact Playbook can help on this impact journey.