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Measuring up: Data for decision making
Society is at a moment of innovation and technological transformation that holds great promise in building a truly data-driven understanding of social impact—both at the level of individual organizations and initiatives, and at a more holistic level. Yet many organizations struggle to develop evidence-based practices and true learning organizations. We at Monitor Institute by Deloitte provide deep and extensive measurement experience at the intersection of pioneering strategy, adaptive learning, and innovation to address these challenges.
What we offer
Measurement should be in the service of decision making—from strengthening understanding of an issue, a geography, or a segment to gauging how well efforts are working to make those efforts more effective. Monitor Institute by Deloitte designs measurement processes that are in the service of real people making real choices. Our team will help you think purposefully and broadly about how best to use data to support your strategic goals. We use data to gain insight about and serve equitable goals, to change organizational cultures to promote inclusion, and to provide information and data tools for agency and choice of constituents and communities. We work to break down knowledge silos in the social sector, by taking advantage of new opportunities to better share information and develop collective knowledge at the scale of the problems we face. We can help you establish necessary feedback loops.
Particular areas of focus include:
- Monitoring, evaluation, and learning systems development: Designing for impact. We integrate measurement purpose with the culture and structure of your organization to promote continuous learning and ensure your measurement systems help you increase social impact.
- Measurement frameworks: Using data for decision making. We help you develop approaches for program improvement and assessment, drawing on the latest innovations in organizational learning, technology, and behavioral design.
- Strategic learning: Developing dynamic practices and tools for adaptive strategy. We help create measurement systems that support the testing of assumptions, emergent and ongoing learning by doing, and adaptation to external change.
- Complex data challenges: Simplifying complexity. We help you tackle demanding data issues, including how to learn across multiple organizations, promote innovation, and address system-level change, as well as effectively use data analytics and data visualization.
Issue to impact: Re-imagining measurement
Despite marked advances in the tools and methods for monitoring, evaluation, and learning in the social sector, there is broad dissatisfaction across the sector about how data is—or is not—used.
Program staff find it difficult to quantify and prove results that they intuitively know are occurring, and can find themselves confused by an alphabet soup of methodological options that range from randomized controlled trials to developmental evaluation. Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) directors deal with others’ unrealistic expectations about what they, the M&E directors, will be able to produce and then with the inability of their organizations to integrate the evaluation findings into concrete decisions about strategy. Donors and boards are disappointed by the fact that evaluation has too often overpromised and under-delivered in its efforts to measure the efficacy and impact of their organizations. And nonprofits and social entrepreneurs are asked to spend time and money capturing data and reporting on outcomes that they feel serve nearly everyone’s purposes other than their own.
Monitor Institute by Deloitte undertook a year-long, multi-funder “Re-imagining Measurement” initiative that identified persistent challenges to effective evaluation, highlighted existing bright spots, and inspire experimentation with a range of next practices in the use of data and information in the social sector. For the initiative, we spoke with more than 125 experts and practitioners; researched evaluation, monitoring, evaluation, and learning practices; developed an extensive “bright spots” catalog; uncovered unproductive assumptions about “how things are done;” and assessed relevant trends in the field and adjacencies from outside philanthropy.
The initiative has identified the “better future” for monitoring, evaluation, and learning that practitioners would like to see, as well as the gap between that better future and the future that’s expected without active efforts to change the field. Through this work, we have developed a toolkit to help organizations learn from innovations that are already happening, and to inspire new ideas. The toolkit includes best and next practices to implement in your organization, a catalog of experiments to try, and innovation materials to spur new thinking with staff and peer organizations. Reimagining Measurement is an ongoing exploration in the field as we collectively come together to further develop and test new ideas, engage in action learning, and share what we learn.