Indicators of Success

Creating the Future’s board and community discussed this topic on September 12, 2016. To watch / listen to that discussion, head to this link. 

What you will find at that link is a discussion that went beyond "How will we evaluate our success?" or "How will we know if we are on track?" The discussion instead led to more questions, about the reasons and culture behind "evaluation" in the first place.

Since that discussion, Creating the Future has included "evaluation systems" among the many systems we are seeking to change, so that the goal is not that one organization learn from its work, but that the entire field learns what works to create the kinds of change we all want to see.

To that end, we have dedicated ourselves to shifting how the social change arena thinks about its work overall, not just the evaluation of that work.

Is the intention of social change efforts to take action, and to then determine what is learned from that action with the goal of taking more action?

Or is the intention that the whole field learn what works, so that together we can create the equitable, humane, healthy world we all want?

If it is the latter, that would require that social change groups - from food banks to literacy groups to human rights groups - see their work as one big experiment to find out what would actually create change. Instead of evaluating the success of one group at a time, the goal would be to learn and share what we are all learning about what actually creates change.

What that means for the question of our own indicators of success is that we have dedicated ourselves to experimenting, and to sharing what we learn from those experiments in as many ways as we can - through writing, speaking, conversation, classes, and any other way we can share what we are learning. The goal is not the doing. It is not even the learning. The goal is that we share what we learn, so that the whole field can improve.

You will find case studies where we share those learnings throughout our blogs and other places on this site. And we invite you to share what you are learning from your own experiments.

Because the goal is that the whole world change. And none of us can do that on our own.