The Trumpian crisis for civil society – and an opportunity

In March last year New York Times opinion writer David Brooks argued that the Republican Party was at a Kuhnian “model crisis” moment in a historical transition from the Reagan orthodoxy to something new that would be born out of the Trumpian disruption. He noted that Trump would not determine what would emerge because, “Trump has no actual ideas or policies. There is no army of Trumpists out there to carry on his legacy. He[…]

Constituent feedback – the revolution is coming

For a decade one of my standard introductions to our work has been, “The voices of those meant to benefit from our work is the most neglected important piece of the impact measurement puzzle. Not the only important piece, but the most neglected important piece.” After that past three weeks, I may have to change that intro to, “Constituent Voice – or constituent feedback – is the coming thing in the impact space.” I am[…]

A spy in the house of love

Keystone’s Chief Executive David Bonbright delivered the talk below at IMPCON 2016 in Atlanta. Despite the striking resemblance, this is not an engraving of Jeremy Nicholls. It is William Blake’s depiction of Isaac Newton. Staying with this theme of artistic perspectives on measurement, I have borrowed from the writer Anais Nin for the title of my talk, a spy in the house of love. I say “a spy” because I am not formally trained in[…]

From the field – 7 cases and a cautionary tale

Since 2013 World Vision has been running seven DFID-funded “beneficiary feedback mechanism” experiments in health programmes in India and Africa with local partners. Earlier this month World Vision convened a highly informative day-long learning event in London where about 50 practitioners from across the globe discussed the experiments, aided by high quality documentation in video, written and slide presentation forms. This is exactly the kind of feedback practice literature that we need as Constituent Voice[…]

Who should measure the impact of non-profits? Responses to Caroline Fiennes and Ken Berger

This article was originally published on Alliance Magazine’s website on March 22, 2016. The non-profit impact revolution has taken a wrong turn. The job of examining their impact should be done by independent specialists rather than non-profits themselves: this is what Caroline Fiennes and Ken Berger argue in the March 2016 issue of Alliance magazine. As self-styled ‘veterans and cheerleaders’ of that revolution, their article constitutes both a change of direction and a major mea culpa.[…]

This Time It’s Personal

As organizations start to get serious about feedback, things inevitably come to the moment where feedback gets personal. To be really useful, feedback must touch on an individual’s performance. This is tough stuff. People resist feedback in many different ways. A growing part of Keystone Accountability’s Constituent Voice work with organizations is to help staff recognize auto-immune-type resistance, and overcome it. For a great book on this I strongly recommend Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone’s[…]

Ringing out 2013 and a modest overture for 2014

As 2013 comes to a close, I write to thank you for your interest in our work to advance Constituent Voice as a tool to solve important societal problems. Topics like performance management, real time data, continuous improvement and downward accountability may make most people’s eyes glaze over — but not yours! Thank you! 2013 was a break through year for Keystone. We are blessed with a geographically and thematically diverse group of clients and[…]

David Bonbright discuss the legacy of Albert O. Hirschman who died last year in his first Feedback Labs article

In his article “Voice As Both Means And End”, David discusses the value of valuing relationships. David refers to Albert O. Hirschman, who died at the age of 97 last December, arguing that his seminal 1970 treatise, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States, is feeling younger and more relevant every day. One of Hirschman’s observations about voice was that it was not always comfortable or polite but any organization wants[…]

World Bank invests in Constituent Voice

The World Bank’s Spring meetings this year showcased the Bank’s deepening commitment to what it calls Citizen Voices. Following up on the first ever global meeting on Constituent Voices in March this year, Citizen Voices: Citizen Engagement for Enhanced Development Impact, the bank held a panel at its Spring meetings to report out from the Citizen Voices conference and explore possible next steps. Caroline Anstey, Managing Director at the World Bank Group, Corinne Woods, Director of[…]

Markets For Good blog: David Bonbright discusses the prerequisites to moving constituent feedback to the heart of the philanthropy marketplace

If we want action – organizations listening and responding to their constituents in a way that raises performance and enhances impacts – we need to stimulate the demand for feedback and provide the professional support infrastructure to meet that demand. This raises a couple of important strategic questions in the field of what is coming to be known as Constituent Voice. How do we get an appropriate infrastructure for a nuanced and rapid scale-up of[…]