We have developed a culture obsessed with measuring impact and value, and when the object of interest proves difficult to measure we often resort to using metrics which are easy to capture but in reality provide us with little true meaning. I am being tested at the moment on how to measure the social impact that my wheelchair rugby athletes can have on broader society – we know they inspire others but how do we prove we know? But consider this:
Today with the GB Wheelchair Rugby team I visited an elementary school in Kitakyushu, Japan. Here we delivered a programme of activity for over 100 pupils. The pupils got into wheelchairs and passed balls around, asked questions of the athletes through an interpreter, sat on the floor next to those in wheelchairs and drew posters depicting the forthcoming wheelchair rugby tournament, and they practised a few words in English.
This image is all I need to know about the impact created. We brought two groups together who are separated by culture, language, age, and physical ability and we left knowing more about one another and with everyone feeling better for the experience. Perhaps that is a good enough measure of success.