Impact Planning Tool

This tool assists project teams to identify and clarify the role of next and end users at different stages of a project.


Why is it important?

  • To understand the role of key stakeholders, partners and collaborators throughout the project – from planning through to implementation - rather than as a ‘tack on’ at the beginning or end is one of the keys to achieving successful adoption and practice change.
  • The template is designed to prompt discussion and it can be modified throughout the life of the project. Therefore, it is not necessary to fill in every box, or to have a lot of detailed wording within the template itself.
  • It is best completed with input from a range of people involved in the project team.
  • It can be also be a useful tool for stakeholder discussions to better understand and clarify expectations, particularly at the start of projects.


Impact Planning Tool

Example of completed Impact Planning Tool

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Background to the Impact Planning Tool

The Impact Planning Tool was adapted from the Synergy Matrix (Coutts, 2006) and trialled with science teams at AgResearch in 2014.

Key to the use of the tool is identifying, at the start of project planning, stakeholders and collaborators and their roles in the project. These may include contributing to identification of needs and opportunities; participation in the research programme, either actively or passively; delivery or extension of research; and their anticipated roles in achieving the desired impacts.

An in-house evaluation of the use of the impact planning tool suggested that the tool was most beneficial when used early on in the planning process, rather than when the 'thinking had been done already'. It also showed that the tool was useful for different types of science (fundamental versus applied) and could be used for a range of programme sizes.

The video below outlines key aspects of the impact planning tool and how it can support projects.