Happy 2020 from Databoom! As we reflected on 2019, we realized that we learned several lessons that will guide us into the new year. So instead of wrapping up 2019 by looking backward, we’ll start off the new decade by looking forward. We’ve put together five learnings inspired by projects we’ve worked on, things we’ve read and listened to, and lessons gleaned from our work, which will guide our work in 2020 and into the future.

Most of our clients come to us with a measurement problem, but what we quickly discover is that they actually have a strategy problem. So, we start by articulating their work in grounded theory – a theory of change, theory of action, or logic model – to identify the change they’re trying to make in the world and then we figure out how to measure against it. This “deep think” helps us articulate expected change and impact, and move clients’ measurement programs forward, thoughtfully.

  • We worked with Darkness to Light to help them articulate a theory of change that focuses on adults’ responsibility to prevent child sexual abuse (CSA). Darkness to Light is using this theory of change to design its programs and shift the paradigm in the CSA sector from one of reporting to true prevention.
  • This blog post from Itad reminds us that a theory of change is a living document. It’s an essential part of our work that we should refer to continually and fine tune as we get better evidence.
  • This piece from The IDEO Journal really spoke to us about moments of uncertainty. Even if you don’t know exactly where your programs are heading, you shouldn’t panic. Rather, you should use uncertainty as a chance to identify gaps in theory and discover new ways of working through issues.
  • Results for Development’s series on the ‘bright spots in a null RCT’ was also a 2019 favorite. Even when we ground interventions in solid theory, we don’t always get it right. When results are negative, we can still learn from them.
  • Many of our projects are about ensuring that girls and young women have the services they need for improved health outcomes. Population Council’s framework for programs focused on empowering adolescent girls demonstrates the role of voice, choice, and control in empowering girls and young women and impacting health.