Strengthening social impact

Over the past 25 plus years, I’ve partnered with organizations and initiatives that ambitiously set out to better the lives of people, communities and our environment. The continued widening of the inequality gap—and all of its related consequences in education, health, economic security, and wellbeing—calls for transformative ways of working. There needs to be greater harnessing of resources from the social sector, government, multilateral, and private actors. We also need collective action by all those engaged in social and environmental impact work, and smart, strategic roadmaps that show how to bring about lasting and powerful change.

Integrating Evaluation Thinking Into the Mainstream

My experience has cultivated an expertise in marrying strategic and evaluative thinking. I have found that these fundamental processes are often separated into two totally different organizational functions. What a lost opportunity!

Adopting this new way of working requires engaging stakeholders who have many different types of expertise—expertise that varies depending on the situation. For example, a successful mix of stakeholder expertise could include effective program delivery, planning, efficient operations, political affairs, communications, advocacy, leadership, innovative financing, research or partnership development.

Evaluation Is a Rich Resource

Evaluation supports essential learning about how to create thoughtful and impactful strategies. It also informs decisions about when and how to pivot if needed. By broadening evaluation into a measurement, learning and evaluation (MLE) system, it can be used continuously to support:

  • Development of a smart and strategic roadmap – (i.e., a theory of change)
  • Introduction of strategic learning that informs go/no-go decisions and continuous adaptive management
  • Harvesting of field knowledge that advances the collective power of organizations and partners dedicated to transformative change.

Evaluation Contributes to Better Decisions

Evaluation today faces a situation where people see it as a stand-alone activity—one that draws resources away from the real work. As an experienced evaluator, I do not see it that way. I see it contributing to the decision making process that leads to creating ultimate impact.

As an advisor to social innovators and partners committed to transformative change, I work with my clients to advance impact through a focus on MLE systems, theories of change, and learning design.

Read more about my perspectives on developing powerful MLE systems, guiding theory of change development, and implementing learning design, below.