Academic Impact Strategy

Have you started to think Impact yet? You should! Academia is changing and research is evolving. Increasingly, research grants will depend on whether you can demonstrate that your research is making a difference to people, outside of academia. The question is, how to do that?

Academic Impact becoming the norm.


Impact is becoming a magical word in academia. Times are changing, and the idea that research can simply sit on a database is increasingly being challenged at the highest levels.

From the UK to Hong Kong, research Impact is key.

Impact assessments were initially launched in the UK around 2014. At the time, the point was to demonstrate that tax-payer money was allocated efficiently, but since then things have evolved towards introducing a new research mindset.

The idea that Impact needs to be part of academic research assessments has since then reached Asia, and in 2019 the Hong Kong universities were required to demonstrate that their research had made a significant contribution to society, outside of academia.

Impact as a ranking factor.

Said differently, the capacity of universities to make a difference will increasingly become part of rankings and excellence competition, which means that sooner or later the other institutions in the region will need to follow the trend.

Academic Impact is now more than a mere expectation. Academic Impact is becoming the norm.

Make your Impact Talents stand out.

Building academic Impact requires Impact strategies.


In academia as in business, however, the best way to obtain results is to strategize and plan. Problematically, universities and faculties are rarely equipped for such a change.

A need for Impact Strategies.

Typically, Impact is managed ad-hoc, at the last minute, and the exercise is therefore merely a matter of assessing what has been achieved.

What makes more sense, however, is to anticipate and build a strategy around Impact. What Impact do we want to have? How will we have it? Where should we invest? Can researchers manage alone? Can we increase collaboration and innovate?

We have helped academics with this, and what we witnessed was a real interest from research teams, for whom Impact development is an opportunity to engage with real-world experts and build leadership on a local, regional and international scale.

A need for strategic expertise.

A major challenge, in our experience, is however that academics are not used to building strategies based on milestones, performance indicators and follow-up.

Collaboration is not particularly common either, but it can be encouraged and nurtured with simple and efficient methods.

Building an Impact strategy is fundamental.
Don’t just run into a wall…

Impact strategy building & Impact coaching for your institution.


The question, ultimately, relates to how institutions can build Impactful Impact strategies. The good news is, you are not alone.

Top-down approaches don’t work.

Typically, institutions name broad expectations to faculties but fail to provide tools, methods and support.

To work, however, Impact has to become a win-win operation run on strong foundations. That usually requires a significant culture change as well as a bottom-down dynamic. And this is typically where we step in.

You need an Impact narrative.

To get results, your academic institution also needs to think about building an Impact narrative. Something which explains what the expectations are, and why research staff should jump on the bandwagon.

What’s in it for them? Why should they take on an additional workload? How can they benefit from such a large culture change?

Training. Training. Training.

Of course, providing staff with adequate training is essential.

At the leadership level, your team ought to be guided from a strategic perspective. What are the goals? How to get there? How to support the initiative?

At the staff level, personal leadership and personal research strategy training and tools should also be provided, because researchers who understand how they can win from making an Impact become the allies every institution needs.

It all starts from an Impact audit.

It all starts from an Impact audit, however. Ultimately, the best way to involve people is to make sure that existing practices are assessed and that people are being heard (and listened). Impact audits have provide this type of benefit, give them a try!

“You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself.”

—Nelson Mandela

How Impact Coaching works.


Impactified is the leading advisory firm when it comes to academic Impact strategy development.

In 2019, the team was involved in building the Impact strategy of the Law Faculty of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where a staff consultation program and a staff leadership development program were organized to create a narrative and build the basis of an Impact culture. From Design Thinking workshops to personal strategy coaching, a lot of tools are available.

And you? How do you plan on making an Impact? Whatever your project, we can help. Please get in touch!


Impact Strategy

Impact strategy usually happens at the University or at the Faculty level. From running an Impact audit to defining the expectations, organizing staff consultations and building a narrative / culture, we have a unique experience and are at best to assist through workshops and other methods.

Leadership Coaching

Impact strategies should include a significant dose of leadership training. In most cases, the staff is not familiar with leadership strategy building and thus fails to plan the preparation and dissemination of their Impact. Leadership coaching can help, what are you waiting for?

Daring is the most difficult part. Act now.