6 Weeks at Sea – an Online Experience in Shared Measurement


Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve been part of a Collaboration for Impact peer learning experience, engaging 16 different collaborations to share their experience of shared measurement. This is the captain’s log from my experience as facilitator and shared measurement navigator.

It was a wild and wonderful journey into the seas of shared measurement, with some treasure troves and a few wild patches as we navigated our way through some rough patches of sea.

Over the charted course there were 3 structured online webinars (ports in the storm) with 2 coaching sessions acting as rescue boats in-between, as well as an online forum which served as the entertainment deck.

On board, our voyage of discovery was shared by 16 mates of varying experience at sea – some had been cruising the shared measurement space for more than 10 years, while others were only starting out and mapping the waters.

Some of the issues, discussions and resources that were shared early in the journey of collaboration included:

  • How do we measure community readiness? We discussed Harwood’s community rhymes and other resources.
  • How do we measure community conversations? A couple of resources were shared that helped us measure the promise of community conversations i.e., do they lead to greater understanding, greater networks and mobilisation of resources?
  • How do we select headline indicators for our common agendas? We reviewed a timely blog from Emma Thomas.
  • What is the macro theory of change of our collaboration? I.e., how are we organised? Are we a jazz band, an orchestra or a music festival or a bit of all three? And what are the assumptions and how are we measuring and evaluating those assumptions to ensure we have the right model?
  • What is (or should be) the role of data committees or data observatories?
  • The critical importance of keeping communication about data simple and accessible – we want people to be curious and wanting more, not to be overwhelmed by a deluge of information!

Next we explored shared measurement’s role in the emergence work of collaborations, covering:

  • Short term experiments and 90 day indicators
  • The use of the Plan, Do, Study, Act cycle to support innovators
  • ‘Flearning’ – the process of failing and learning, and where to find the positives
  • How to find coherence when ‘1000 flowers blooms’ when experimenting

For those further along the shared measurement journey, our conversations focussed on:

  • Shared measurement agreements, more commonly known as shared data agreements.
  • Software packages to support measurement and sense-making across collaborations. including the use of Clear Impact and data intelligence platforms such as Track2Change
  • Contribution Analysis – how do we know what has worked within our collaborative work? This included a case study shared by John Mayne.
  • The use of Facebook and other data sources to gain meaningful insights.

In the final session, we reviewed Collaboration for Impact’s Collaboration Change Cycle and provided insights and reflections to add to this – watch this space for further updates.

A few may have wanted to jump ship along the way as we explored the unchartered and sometimes challenging waters of Shared Measurement, but as we head back to land, I hope our shipmates take with them the knowledge of the rocky areas to sail with care, and the navigation tips to help them on their journeys ahead.

Watch out for the next journey out to sea with Regina Hill.

This post was featured by Collaboration for Impact.

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