Closing the loop

For feedback to transform relationships it is imperative to close the loop. Go back to the people you asked, tell them what you heard and what you are doing about it. Then ask them what they reckon. As simple as that is, the dismal truth is that it is rarely done. It is this element of our method, Constituent Voice that makes feedback collaborative rather than extractive. It is here where the relationship building happens[…]

How the weather is linked to social change

If you’re one of the two billion people who own a smartphone, it likely comes with a weather app. The app is probably equipped with convenient features like maps that give you all sorts of forecast spectrums ranging from temperatures and uv index dangers, to allergen warnings. You can share this handy weather snapshot on social media, or text it to a friend to suggest moving that potluck indoors for the upcoming rainy Saturday. We[…]

Those Low Response Rates

Surveys are a double-edged sword. It is useful, irresistibly so, to be able to assert something that is supported by survey results. Most of us are enthralled by this sirens’ call – I certainly am! But at the same time, surveys are riddled with two kinds of distortions. These have various technical names but boil down to two simple things – accuracy and representativeness. First, in surveys we tend not to give “honest” responses. It[…]

Surveys: You’re doing it wrong

I have a confession to make. Despite two years of surveying thousands of respondents for our clients I still fire up Google in the hopes that it will one day tell me how to conduct surveys the right way. Now, this is mainly due to being overly ambitious: I would one day love to see a 100 percent response rate or a completely full raw dataset. In the meantime though, I’ll settle for actionable insights[…]

Sustaining Feedback Mechanisms in Development

We would all like our work to speak for itself, better still if someone else can vouch for us! One way that industries like to do this is to showcase their ratings and feedback from customers. Not only does this help improve their service, but also help build credibility and trust. In the development context, this has taken more centre-stage. Findings from a UKAID funded pilot programme in seven locations around the world, demonstrated the[…]

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[…]