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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

In partnering, rules don’t work but principles might

Localization makes partnerships in development all the more important. In this guest blog Ros Tennyson, Director of Strategy at The Partnership Brokers Association discusses the challenges of multi-stakeholder partnerships in development. Multi-stakeholder partnerships for humanitarian relief and sustainable development are much promoted (especially by donors) as the way to tackle the complicated and complex challenges we face. As a passionate advocate of such collaboration, I agree this approach is critically important BUT… only if those involved really grapple[…]

Kai Hopkins discusses stories and the key lessons learned from various Keystone Performance Surveys

Having provided the reasoning and rationale behind gathering feedback about our relationships with our partners and intermediary organizations, Kai discusses Keystone’s Performance Surveys, which benchmark principal-agent type relationships for international NGOs, impact investors, grantmakers and social change networks. In doing so,  he focuses on the practical side of this kind of feedback, exploring key findings from some of the Keystone Performance Surveys and the value organizations have found they get from participating. Read the full blog here.

Dennis Whittle writes on the importance of feedback loops – a must read for those seeking to make development organizations more responsive and adaptive

Dennis Whittle has published an important piece on the signficance of feedback loops. His discussion of how feedback loops can subvert the prevailing mental model (top-down; expert-driven) and the limitations of RCTs is particularly relevant. A must read for all those seeking to make development organizations more responsive and adaptive. http://international.cgdev.org/publication/how-feedback-loops-can-improve-aid-and-maybe-governance

Global Giving launches its “most important local initiative”, listening to those who are meant to benefit from development

The Slum Youth Map Community Development Fund will be mapping and reporting about the progress of local government development projects in the slums to increase accountability and transparency of community funds. Many projects that make use of a fund for community development aren’t completed or are not successful and Global Giving want to document them so that they can make sure the communities get the full benefit of development. Global Giving joined Keystone as a founding member[…]

Keystone’s Kai Hopkins highlights the importance of indirect relationships, for creating social change and maximising the desired outcomes for ‘end-beneficiaries’

Writing on the Feedback Labs blog, Kai argues that intermediaries – implementing partners of an international NGO, a grant recipient, or an impact investor’s awardee – are an important and active agent of change and a key to successful development outcomes. And as such, we must understand these relationships and strive to improve them. To do so, we must ask them! Kai discusses the value of benchmarking for accurately extracting understanding and meaning from the feedback data.[…]