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The Impact Investment Matrix for Global Health

By Market Dynamics

PATH has developed a simple and adaptable global health impact investment matrix (IIM) to address the sector’s need for a straightforward framework to assess, segment, prioritize, and advocate for potential investments. By offering a structured process for decision-making criteria, the aim is to use the framework to spark conversations and debate that enable organizations to distill the universe of options for partnering or investing by exploring various tradeoffs in a disciplined and inclusive way. Designed to fit on a simple index card, the matrix offers an easy and visual starting point for decision-making that moves the sector away from preemptively diving into measurement and indicators that can easily bury key decision-making considerations.

The IIM is designed for first-pass segmentation and prioritization of a given set of investment options. It is divided into 6 unique segments, which correlate with different levels of Impact Potential (y-axis), and Investment Required (x-axis). Users can think of Impact Potential as the addressable impact likely to be achieved by the successful implementation of a particular investment option, and Investment Required refers to the time, resources, and/or budget needed to implement a particular investment option. By listing and mapping out each of the various investment options available, the user can develop a holistic picture of the possible set of interventions, which can be used to guide early-stage decision making.

The framework has been designed to enable user to answer three essential questions:

  1. What is the universe of investment options?
  2. Is my organization the best suited to make or implement a particular investment?
  3. Are internal and external partners aligned on an investment’s expected impact?

What is the universe of investment options?

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Is my organization the best suited to make or implement a particular investment?

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Are internal and external partners aligned on an investment’s expected impact?

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Within the matrix, investors and implementers can analyze their investment opportunities using the axes (impact potential, investment required) to segment the investment opportunities within six categories. These segments can then help guide further discussion and action:

Immediate Opportunity: This segment is defined by high health impact potential, and low required investment. Investment options that fall into this segment could be prioritized for implementation after ensuring complementarity to existing and planned initiatives.

Near-Term Opportunity: This segment also features high health impact potential but requires more investment than in the immediate opportunity segment. Investment options in this segment would likely require resource mobilization and partner coordination but should be prioritized given the high impact potential.

Major Projects: This segment represents both high health impact potential and a high level of required investment. Investment options in the Major Projects segment require further articulation of the value proposition or return on investment via the development of a business case, pilot demonstration, or other evidence-generating activities. Such activities would support resource mobilization efforts required to cover the high degree of investment needed for implementation. Investment options that fall into this segment are also likely to require implementation through several partners, which would increase the level of coordination and planning required for successful execution.

Opportunistic: This segment is defined by low investment needed and low impact potential. Investment options in this segment represent “low-hanging fruit” and should be prioritized based on bandwidth and an assessment of the opportunity cost for both the investor and the implementer.

Evaluation: This segment is defined by medium investment, and low impact potential. Investment options in this segment should be further evaluated prior to implementation. The value proposition or return on investment must be compared against that of other medium-investment options to effectively guide use of resources.

Limited Return: This segment represents low health impact potential and high required investment. Investment options in this segment should be tracked, but deprioritized.

See the full version of this article by Neha Agarwal and Evan Spark-DePass in the World Economic Forum, How to boost inclusive investment decision-making in global health