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AidWatch (Easterly and co blog) catches up with Evaluation Revisited…

July 23, 2010

Just reading Alanna Shaikh s blog ‘Is Impact Measurement a Dead End?’ on AidWatch – a blog project run by Bill Easterly with invited contributors. She asks ‘ At what point are we expecting too much from our impact measurement?’…. Yes, unrealistic expectations, discussed in May. Complexity, yes – discussed in May. Killing innovation by reducing measurement to numbers, yes – discussed in May. She’s writing about concerns many of us have had for a while. She’s also finally discovered the Cynefin framework! … discussed in May. Perhaps the issues we debated in will get some attention.

But where I think she doesn’t go far enough is by referring to impact measurement as a faulty but necessary tool and not specifying how we can make this less faulty to embrace complexity rigorously. There is no off the shelf ‘tool’ for us to use, Alanna. This is where the conversation needs to continue ….

And even more significantly, where the blog stops is why on earth it is that agencies don’t see the obvious and continue to insist on versions of  impact measurement  that can, at best, lead to meaningless numbers and at worst, shut the door on important – though unproven – innovations for development.

Read the comments below Shaikh’s blog – very interesting….

Irene Guijt, Learning by Design

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