Strategy for change
It must be clear which components of the programme are important for achieving the expected outcome and the expected impact. HR&S Strategy for Change (SfC) is essentially a comprehensive description and illustration of how and why the desired change is expected to happen in a particular context. The Strategy for Change offers an opportunity to reflect whether the expected impact is likely to happen because of the programme. It ensures that the programme design does not suffer from any obvious gaps. Thus, the SfC aims at defining all of the necessary conditions required to bring about impact, and it also points out which conditions are sufficient.
Our Strategy for Change presents the connections between Impact, Outcome, Output, Milestones and Input, as well as Outcome challenges, Progress markers, Baseline (micro and macro), Risks & Risk management and Source of Evidence; all compiled per Ambition and Domain. The Output, Progress markers and Expected Impact are expressed as measurable entities.
- Ambition: What do you want to do? How do you want to do it?
- Context: How do you manage right now?
- Background & Justification: Include also the national development plans when appropriate.
- Motivation: Is your motivation external or internal? Does your motivation have links to team-building and/or to development aid?
- Outcome Challenges: Why did you not do it already? Did you experience challenges that were hindering you from starting? If so, which challenges?
- Activity: Activities addressing the Outcome challenges aiming to generate an Expected Output.
- Output: The Outputs are quantified results of the Activities. The partners are in control over Outputs.
- Input: Resources required to arrange the Activities. Inputs have to be available; otherwise, they reformulated into activities.
- Customer survey: What are our potential customers’ problems, frustrations and goals?
- Target partners: All units of stakeholders that must deliver an outcome for impact to be achieved. The programme shall address the outcome challenges for all target partners.
- Milestones: Milestones are outputs presented with due dates and the person(s) responsible for the implementation. Milestones also present the financial input required.
- Outcome: Actions taken by different stakeholders as a result of the Activities. The partners are not in control over Outcomes.
- Progress markers: Measurable indicators of progress or non-progress. They are linked to the Outcomes and are categorised as Level 1, 2 and 3.
- Baseline: The baseline describes the situation before starting the programme and constitutes the control against which the programme achievements will be evaluated. A baseline is required at a micro and macro level.
- Impact: We define Impact as Outcomes that have become sustainable over time, and does not require backup from the programme to be sustainable. The expected impact is quantitatively measurable as a result of our progress markers, and we are accountable for the Expected Impact. The Expected impact is measured at the time of closing the programme. In addition, we may aim to measure if our impact is still sustainable some period after we have closed the programme, maybe one, two, five and even ten years after.
- Possible Impact: The possible Impact is often a wide and qualitative statement, something that is desired and that may or may not happen as a consequence of our interaction, and often long after we have closed the programme. We are not accountable for the possible impact, and we can also not claim it as the goal that we strategically work towards achieving. If it actually happens, then we often do not have evidence to what extent it was caused by our programme.
- Vision: On a larger and wider scale, why is this initiative relevant? We are not accountable for our vision.
- Mission: We are accountable for our mission.
- There are three levels of Progress markers, depending on how difficult these are to achieve, where level one is the easiest to achieve. These progress markers can be defined according to two approaches, namely – term duration and degree of realism. In the term duration approach, level 1 are immediate responses that will be expected during the initial phase of the programme, level 2 are medium-term responses that one would expect after some time, and level 3 are long-term responses that one might expect and possibly after some time. In the degree of realism approach, level 1 are brutally realistic items, level 2 are somewhat idealistic items, and level 3 are items that are close to being unrealistic (think big).
- There are two types of Baseline: the micro level presents the local situation while the macro level presents national, regional or international data.
- There are two types of outcome challenges: internal and external. Internal outcome challenges are something we can have an influence on through our activities. External outcome challenges are out of our control and something we will acknowledge and somehow manage.
Word the hypothesis
The hypothesis is a summary of the Strategy for Change. The hypothesis is a causal chain, linking cause A and the expected impact B and articulating the steps between the cause and the expected impact.
Terminilogy & definitions by HR&S
Ambition: The need and ambitions as expressed by the local stakeholder, the Target partner.
Motivation: Motivation is a phenomenon that explains the processes giving rise to individual energy and endurance. It can be external (e.g. money, career, power, aid) or internal (passion, vision, commitment), and strengthened through teams.
Outcome challenge: Challenges hindering the Target partner from reaching her/his ambitions, as expressed by the Target partner.
Activity: Activities arranged by the Programme management Partner, which address the Outcome challenges identified by the TP and generate a specific Output.
Expected Output: The Expected Outputs are quantified results from the Activities. The PP are in control over Outputs. It can be, for example, the number of active participants in a certain number of workshops that lasted a certain period of time.
Input: Resources required to arrange the Activities.
Customer survey: The customers are identified as entities covering the costs and include research grants, the university, the local authorities. The survey is initiated by addressing: our customers’ challenges – Ambitions & Outcome Challenges. Facts. Seek evidence. The situation in the past (instead of opinions about the future). The context. Talking less and listen more – User-driven.
Expected Outcome: Actions taken by the Target partners as results of the Activities. The programme managers do not have control.
Progress Markers: Measurable indicators of progress or non-progress. They are linked to the expected Outcome and categorized at Level 1, 2 and 3.
Expected Impact: We define Expected Impact as Expected Outcomes that have become sustainable over time, and that do not require backup from the programme to be sustainable. The Expected Impact is quantitatively measurable as a result of our progress markers, and we are accountable for the Expected Impact. The Expected Impact is measured at the time of closing the programme. We may, in addition, aim to measure if our impact is still sustainable some period after we have closed the programme, maybe one, two, five and event ten years after.
Possible Impact: The Possible Impact is often a wide and qualitative statement, something that is desired and that may or may not happen as a consequence of our interaction, and often long after we have closed the programme. We are not accountable for the Possible Impact, and we can also not claim it as a goal that we strategically work towards achieving. If it actually happens, then we often do not have evidence to what extent it was caused by our programme.