Why did Sasin School of Management create the position of Chief Impact Officer?

Ian Fenwick, Director of Sasin School of Management together with Dean Outerson, Ambassador, and Writer-in-Residence of Sasin School of Management, describe what led the institution to create the role of Chief Impact officer, now executed by Vasu Srivibha.

Soon after I became Director of Sasin School of Management in June 2019, I realised that I needed to give our Impact more impact!

As with many schools, we had personnel responsible for accreditation and university-mandated quality assurance, but we actually had no one directly responsible for impact. I think that’s a little like having someone responsible for the exam (accreditation) but not for the course that’s being examined (impact)!

As a marketer, I’m an adamant believer in the power of signals and the power of words. As a data scientist, I know that we must measure what matters and that what finishes up mattering, is what is being measured!

For the entire 37 years of Sasin’s existence, we have consistently put accountability to all our stakeholders at the heart of what we do. For well over 10 years, Sasin School of Management has put sustainability at the core of our curriculum, where I firmly believe it belongs: sustainability of the environment, of society and, of course, of the business itself. Yet we have never actually created a position on the organization chart that focuses on accountability and proactively searches for ways to heighten our impact.

Improving impact required an impact champion, so management agreed to create the role of Chief Impact Officer and appoint Vasu Srivibha (previously Chief of Operations in our Sustainability & Entrepreneurship Centre) to that position. Vasu is the champion, and manager, of holistic impact across Sasin and all of its stakeholders. His KPIs include improving impact measurement and, of course, enhancing impact.

Already we are seeing positive results from this position and its incumbent. First, our sharpened impact focus has led to a clearer, more concise, and more easily communicated statement of Sasin’s positioning:

Inspire. Connect. Transform.
for a better, smarter, sustainable world.

Second, our newly-minted Chief Impact Officer led us through the BSIS process, which we completed in December 2019. BSIS provided a strong stimulus to improve the measurement of our impact and, most especially, our stakeholder communication of that impact. It also signalled to all the importance of impact to Sasin.

Third, our Chief Impact Officer led us to an awakening and a breaking down of silos. Impact is not just about data and reports. Measuring impact encourages empathy across the school—a heartfelt understanding of how other parts of the organization function, the problems they face, how we can assist each other, and how working together, we can improve overall impact.

With our dedicated impact champion, Sasin is determined to be a role model for other business schools in measuring, scaling, and communicating impact. Of course, we’re just starting our impact journey: we still have a long way to go. But we know that strategic alignment, continuous improvement, innovation, partnerships, and collaboration are the driving forces that will help Sasin have even more impact on our communities in the future.


About BSIS

The Business School Impact System (BSIS) scheme is designed to determine the extent of a school’s impact upon its local environment – the city or region in which it is located. The BSIS process is offered in a joint venture between EFMD Global Network and FNEGE as a service to EFMD members in any part of the world. The impact of the Business School is analysed on the basis of the following seven areas of impact: financial, educational, business development impact as well as intellectual, societal, image and impact within the regional ecosystem.

To learn more about the impact assessment system, please visit the BSIS website or contact bsis@efmdglobal.org.

1 Comment

  1. Paul Greenwood on May 7, 2020 at 10:56

    Thanks Ian. Good to understand the focus on PPP outcomes, not just departmental outputs. Always appreciated.