PEYou wouldn’t think six letters could cause such confusion or in some cases, panic! As part of the Think Ahead team, my role enables me to be in a variety of settings both with researchers and professional services colleagues and frequently we end up talking about ‘impact’. The trouble is, it means different things to different people. When faced with that reality, in my opinion there’s only one answer – Dictionary.com:

  1. the striking of one thing against another; forceful contact; collision
  2. an impinging
  3. influence; effect
  4. an impacting; forcible impinging
  5. the force exerted by a new idea, concept, technology, or ideology

I don’t know about you but I’m not necessarily any the wiser. The best way I can think to express it, is that an ‘impact’ can be most thoroughly viewed as something that causes change (positive or negative). Simplistic perhaps but sometimes that is the easiest way to start. Upon reflection, I began to wonder if this conundrum is one being faced by our researchers across the university?

Read the rest of this entry »