Our solutions can help you to make better use of evidence, understand your impact and generate new approaches to work. We combine research with practical strategy and delivery support to generate sustainable results.
Our solutions work for a range of clients across the public, private and social sectors. They can be customised to help investors articulate the return on their social investment; corporate social responsibility teams look at the impact of programmes on their human capital; charities review and improve their services; or commissioners track their progress against specific outcomes. We build capacity across all these groups – at every point in the value chain – to promote a shared understanding between them and throughout the sector.
We offer five main solutions:
Evidence HubCreating a community and online platform where evidence can be generated, used and shared
Evidence 360Integrating evidence into every aspect of a fund or investment programme
EvaluationDelivering insight into how well a programme is working and recommendations for improvement
InnovationEquipping organisations to generate and test new ideas and approaches
TrainingIncreasing the evaluation expertise of charities, funders and commissioners
Creating a community and online platform where evidence can be generated, used and shared
Social problems are complex. To understand what works for whom, and why, requires insight from those who experience, deliver, commission and study them. Yet, in reality, we often work in silos, inhibiting the flow of information and ideas across specialisms, and stifling social progress at a much broader level.
Evidence Hubs enable us to move out of these professional silos. Each one provides online and in-person services for generating, using and sharing evidence relating to a social issue or geographical place, as well as creating a community of delivery organisations, funders and researchers working towards a similar goal. They are designed to give visibility to projects, in a way that allows funders, policymakers and the wider public to make better decisions about what to support. Underpinning the Evidence Hub are shared Standards of Evidence which set expectations around what constitutes “good evidence” and ensure the development of a robust evidence base.
Each Evidence Hub is unique but they do involve common elements:
- A platform or database where evidence from different programmes can be brought together
- Common standards so that evidence from different sources can be compared and understood
- Incentives to sustain engagement over time
- Training to help programme providers and funders to build practical evaluation skills and knowledge
Our flagship Evidence Hub is Project Oracle, now established as an independent organisation.
Integrating evidence into every aspect of a fund or investment programme
A fund or investment programme may last several years and represents a major commitment of money and resources. Measuring the change that the funded projects bring about during that time could deliver rich and reliable information about “what works”. Yet, integrating evidence into the commissioning cycle, in a way that benefits the funder and the funded, as well as the wider ecosystem, requires serious effort and is an opportunity often missed.
An Evidence 360 works from all angles to support both parties to deliver exceptional impact while also collecting high-quality evidence. We wire good evidence into each step in the commissioning cycle – from fund application through to service delivery. We then work to ensure evidence supports rather than detracts from effective commissioning and delivery. For the funder, this may mean developing a lean evidence strategy to be implemented by fund managers. For a grantee, it may mean commissioning their first ever independent evaluation.
Delivering insight into how well a programme is working and recommendations for improvement
Charities and funders in ever greater numbers are striving to measure the impact of what they do. However, for many the collection of evidence still represents a box to tick, while for others unreliable data or insufficient skill mean that they struggle to gain genuine insight into their intervention.
We work with organisations that want to learn:
- how well their delivery model is working and in what ways it could be improved (process evaluation); and/or
- gain an understanding of their overall impact and how to increase it over time (impact evaluation).
We take a mixed method approach - using both quantitative and qualitative data - to evaluate a wide range of programmes.
Equipping organisations to generate and test new approaches
Changing policy, funding landscapes and patterns of provision present a challenge and an opportunity to those trying to deliver social outcomes. Our innovation solutions equip clients with the tools they need to respond positively to change by helping them to identify and implement best-responses.
We design innovation processes so they can generate new ideas, identify those that are most effective, and then incubate and implement them. We also develop idea management processes to help them capture suggestions from a wide range of stakeholders and use this input to support decision-making.
Increasing the evaluation expertise of charities, funders and commissioners
The past decade has seen a transformation in impact measurement methods and tools. But it can be difficult to navigate this environment and find support that is attuned to organisations’ needs. We understand that evaluation is a journey - from defining how change is created, to deciding what to measure, and assessing and reporting on impact.
At whatever stage in the process, our training packages equip organisations with the knowledge and practical skill they need to take their evaluation practice to the next level, including:
Theory of Change: The first step in evaluation is to understand what you are trying to achieve and how. This session will help you refine your project model and communicate it clearly and effectively. It is ideal for organisations at the start of the evidence journey.
Evaluation planning and tools: This session takes a detailed look at the tools and techniques you can use to actually measure your impact. It is designed for those who have a clear idea of what they want to measure but need some support to identify the most effective way to go about it.
Data analysis and reporting: Good analysis is crucial to delivering a convincing evaluation. This session covers both the theory and practice of statistical analysis, and offers advice on how to present findings in a balanced and compelling way. It is ideal for those who have collected data about their programme and want to translate it into meaningful conclusions.
All of our sessions are designed and delivered by expert evaluators. They are hands-on and provide opportunities for participants to explore and resolve real-world challenges. We also deliver bespoke training for organisations that want to combine elements of multiple sessions or focus on specific concepts.