What is the Theory of Change?

Ken Hoffman, OrganizationalLearning

What’s our goal? It’s a simple question. The answer has to be made clear and kept in mind if an initiative is to be successful. Too often groups working together get swept up planning activities. Rather than keeping an end goal in sight, they focus on the activities they want to do in the interest of furthering their cause. This is only natural when you put a bunch of action-oriented people in a room together. Getting right down to doing action plans and developing activities is progress, but something’s missing. Namely, taking the time to consider why we’re doing what we’re doing.

When Is Theory of Change the Best Approach?

Ken Hoffman, OrganizationalLearning

It’s inevitable that groups working together on an issue will have different ideas about what the cause of that problem is and how best to solve it. This is especially true when the problem is complex. Such differences in thinking can thwart group efforts to address an issue. This is why it’s important for groups to agree on a final vision and how they think they’re going to get there up front.

The theory of change is an approach to thinking about what’s required to bring about a desired effect. This method is most useful when dealing with a multifaceted issue. Creating a theory of change involves plotting a roadmap—a pathway of change—to determine indicators that can be used along way to evaluate the effectiveness of taken actions. This is useful because it requires justifying how and why planned interventions are going to lead to each needed change.

How to Ensure Successful Results on Your Next Project

Sue Cass, OrganizationalLearning

Robust evaluation is an integral part of good business. Some of the core roles of effective evaluation tools include some or all of the following:

  •  To assess or redefine strategic goals
  •  To review budget efficiencies
  •  To inform the organization on project effectiveness

Planning, conducting and integrating evaluations into organizational processes can be challenging and implemented in multiple ways. Let’s explore how we incorporate varied evaluation practices into a particular project, the reason behind that decision and when to execute the evaluation.

Putting Relationships First – A Different Approach to Designing “People Services”

Ken Hoffman, OrganizationalLearning

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“People services” are the types of program such as health, education and social services that essentially involve one group of people (providers) providing a range of services to another group of people (variously called clients, consumers, patients or students, depending on the context). The planning for these programs has been dominated, over the past 50 years or so, by the desire to create systems intended to standardize the types and quality of the services provided, in the hope of creating similar outcomes for the clients. In this process, it has been generally assumed that any professional that possesses the appropriate qualifications can provide the required service. What has often been overlooked is the actual relationship that gets created between a provider and a client.

Making the Move to Virtual Meetings: Step 2 – Designing Effective Webinars

Ken Hoffman, OrganizationalLearning

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Once you have made the decision to introduce virtual meetings to your organization or network, it is important to recognize that this is not just a technological shift, but a cultural one. In any group where training and relationships have been built over years through face-to-face meetings, it is a major change to make the shift to interacting virtually.

This was the situation we experienced in working with the Ontario Network of CAPC and CPNP projects – a group of 150 projects doing very innovative work to support marginalized families across the province. The projects are located in every part of the province – from inner-city Toronto to rural areas and the far North. The diversity and range of experience among the projects is amazing.

Making the Move to Virtual Meetings: Step 1 – Choosing the Right Platform

Ken Hoffman, OrganizationalLearning

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Increasingly, organizations and networks whose members are dispersed geographically – and who may be feeling budget pressures – are choosing to meet virtually as a less costly alternative to face-to-face. Meeting virtually can offer many advantages: you can meet more frequently and you can engage many more people at far less cost than face-to-face meetings.

The Best Way to Problem Solve: Utilize Everyone

Ken Hoffman, OrganizationalLearning

One of the biggest untapped assets in most organizations is the skills and experience of their own people. When it comes to problem solving, vertical dialogue is an invaluable asset. Frontline workers are often founts of knowledge, but all too often their input isn’t sought by management, even though they may have a superior grasp of critical parts of an issue.

Organizations can benefit greatly by creating a culture of learning — one that includes everyone from frontline workers to upper-level management. It starts with the idea that learning is about more than just going to training sessions. A learning culture exists when all workers are encouraged to be critical, ask questions and constantly look for different approaches and better ways to do things.

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207-2141 Thurston Dr
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