Could you benefit from a free data audit?

No longer can anyone use the excuse that it’s “too hard” or “too expensive” to refrain from collecting the kind of feedback that you will actually use to improve performance. We built the Feedback Commons to provide a platform that any organization could use to collect, analyze, and respond to feedback from the people they work with at low cost, and with minimal effort. It’s free and simple. Anyone can design a survey – using questions[…]

20 ways to know if partnering is paying off

Nonprofit organizations and foundations love to talk about “partnering”, “co-creating”, leverage”, and “synergy” – but do these hook-ups really yield as much value for the effort involved? Or is it just beneficial to be seen collaborating? I searched for reports on what value non-profit professionals typically get out of collaborations, but sadly, there doesn’t seem to be much research on this. One exception is Keystone’s own Partnership Survey. We measure this along dimensions of the[…]

No Choice. No Voice.

– Showing up for Democracy’s Sake – Recently, US Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina cast the deciding vote* confirming Betsy Davos for Secretary of Education. I could not help but notice that Tillis ran unopposed for most of his political career. According to Wikipedia: “Tillis ran for the General Assembly in 2006. He defeated incumbent John W. Rhodes in the Republican primary, and went on to win the election, since no other candidate had[…]

Do you work for a learning organization?

We believe that well-run organizations are also learning organizations. How do you know if you’re a learning organization? Take a diagnostic test. Answer some questions about the way your team works, and it will tell you what features your team shares with learning organizations, and what you need to work on. Here is one from the Harvard Business Review to get you started. Learning is about improving performance, not proving impact. A well-run organization thinks[…]

When donors and beneficiaries see things differently

“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as WE are.” – Anais Nin once said. When this power of personal perspective is used to transform the world we call it “vision”. But it can also color the lens through which we see the world. In that case, we call this misperception “bias”. Observer bias is the reason evaluators and analysts cling to the clarity of numbers, sums, averages, and error bars. But statistics[…]

Why you should talk to everybody: lessons from 2016 US election

Keystone Accountability believes that when everybody has a voice, and the leadership pays attention to what people are saying, this is the best possible form of management. 2016 has been the year of surprising referendum results. In June, 52% of UK citizens voted to leave the EU. This was followed the next day by an unprecedented number of google searches for “what is the EU“. And in November, Donald Trump narrowly beat Hillary Clinton by[…]

Development data – what is it good for?

Keystone believes in the power of data and benchmarking to improve how we do development. However, it is not always easy to come by. The International Aid Transparency Initiative is supposed to make information about aid easier to access, use and understand. It is the first (and only) standard for how organizations and governments are supposed to publish information about how they spend their money, who it goes to, and what it’s for. However, agencies[…]

Marc Maxmeister is the chief innovator. As a PhD neuroscientist, he leads our efforts to develop new and better solutions. He has taught graduate-level Neuroscience in Kenya, Python to middle school students in London, UK, and mentors young professionals in our Data Scientist in Training program. He blogs at chewychunks.wordpress.com and is the author of several books, including Ebola: Local voices, hard facts (2014) and Trello for Project Management (2015).