OUR PERSPECTIVE ON DATA and EVALUATION
One key feature of Collective Impact makes it unique. It requires Partners to share their own data. Share what’s happening in their own shop – with strangers, industry competitors. It’s a tall order.
Collective Impact experts share this about using data to make collective decisions:
- Many of us don’t trust the data we collect for our own use.
- Others of us don’t really know what our own data does say.
- We sometimes think we’re collecting the same data as everyone else, but most of us really aren’t. Any deep dive into employment program data will tell you that a “job” or “employment training” looks very different location to location.
- Quite a few of us don’t have the time to develop skills in data management and analysis.
- Shared data may lead to judgment. Sometimes, loss of investment or respect. Nobody wants that.
Collective Impact recognizes these realities. And, says, “We have to do it anyway.”
According to successful Collective Impact models in the U.S., OpportunINDY needs five things in place for successful data use:
- Provide an annual report card of big outcomes, lessons learned, changes coming. Be transparent and open.
- Use strategy performance indicators or measures that all strategy partners agree to share data on – and keep that data “in-house.”
- Don’t require each partner to share all their own in-house data with each other, only disaggregated data related to performance indicators and only what is relevant to the Partner collecting it.
- Build a “conversation” culture that opens regular dialogue. What does the data say? Why does data look different between us? Don’t allow finger-pointing, but hold each other accountable.
- Support partners in improving their own data management skills.
OUR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT PLAN
Collective Impact explores “how” the work is done. The how creates systemic change and shifts a community. The how requires communication.
OpportunINDY is focused on High-quality communication, not constant communication. High-quality communication is a tool for Continuous Improvement. Continuous Improvement is another word for evaluation, but it an approachable, developmental, participatory evaluation. It helps Partners build a learning culture.
Effective Collective Impact communities don’t rely on expensive, third-party evaluations, but build in-house capacity to frequently gather, self-reflect, hold accountable and improve. “In-house” includes each Partner’s own house as relates to shared work. This is OpportunINDY’s plan, as well.
During 2016, OpportunINDY will test and roll out five initial methods as recommended by other successful communities. Each builds an internal capacity to self-assess, change, evaluate:
The Feedback Loop:
Each Partner creates a regular feedback loop. These personal, formal conversations with young Black men ages 14-24 provide insight to both the Partner’s own work and the work of the collective. A tool to collect this data and share it with peers is being developed.
Partners have access to an online, private platform which allows them to share strategy performance measure data with their team, update actions, access tools and communicate with each other.
Each set of focus area Leads meets regularly with its strategy Chairs as one team. They review data, grounded ideas, points of tension or struggle. They receive feedback and peer mentoring. The Leadership Team meets regularly with the executive director. It shares updates, personal learning from leading teams. Leads find support and synergy. They advise, make decisions and forward questions or needs to the Advisory Team. The Advisory Team meets regularly with the executive director. It receives recommendations from the Leads about direction or needs, discusses opportunities, considers changes to strategies that are supported by data.
Each focus area team and strategy group needs freedom to work in its own way. However, each strategy group will use the same tool to help make decisions about next steps. This tool helps a group walk through questions and data, form “test” ideas, make a change, discuss results and decide what to do next.
Evaluation of the Way We Work:
With an eye on practicality, OpportunINDY will test easy tools/processes to help Partners and staff make real-time sense of lessons learned about structure and operations. What works? What doesn’t? The biggest lessons will be shared in the Annual Report Card.