Different measures of success


Vi har fått et nytt gjesteinnlegg fra Will Nicholson. Blogginnlegget er først publisert på Wills blogg  Takes A Spark.

How do we know something works?  How do we know it doesn’t?  How do we do it better next time?  Sometimes we can see straight away what works and what doesn’t, and the media is always full of stories and anecdotes of a great success or a total failure.  But what about the real detail behind this?  It is something we should be careful not to ignore.
In social enterprise I think the same can be true.  Its great to hear success stories about how something changed someone’s life, and its sad to hear about how a failing system left someone alone when they needed help.  But to have solutions in place that consistently work, we need to be able to measure things, and be accountable for money and time spent.
Here’s an example, there are tools for measuring people’s «employability», along 6 different scales.  Each scale reflects a different element of employability (motivation, confidence, basic skills, etc) and can be used before a project, to measure pre-intervention «employability», and can be used after to measure the success in increasing «employability».  Its fairly simple stuff, but the real power of it is when you use the 6 scales to identify where the real problem areas are in «employability» for each individual.  You can then focus on the problem areas in the intervention stage, and measure your success along each scale after the program.
To take this a little further, you can then see which areas of the intervention program really work, which are not showing results and improve your solution, based on real outcomes.  Once you have a program that is reliably showing measurable results, then you have something that is genuinely scalable, ie it can be replicated elsewhere with, assuming high quality staff, an expectation of success.  And I think this is key – many social enterprises and charities do great things, and they are driven forwards by the dedication of the founder and staff.  However their approach can be difficult to scale if much of the work is often improvised and run on «gut feeling».  «Gut feeling» is an unreasonable expectation for other people to be able to replicate – its too personal.  
So if you can prove good results, show why and how, then you have a system you can replicate, and you’re program can grow.  Stories are great, but measurement of outcomes is scalable.
As for me, I am leaving Oslo shortly for 3 months teaching in a school in Ladakh, northern India.  I am hoping to learn more about working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, social enterprise in the developing world, sustainable living, and do some fantastic trekking in «Little Tibet»!  I am away from Oslo from June to the end of August but, internet access permitting, will be blogging about India when I can. 
Ha det bra!

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