Thomas, Majorie, and Hannah will be working with us to develop our frameworks for monitoring and evaluating program impacts and to design external evaluations. Building a robust evidence base plays a fundamental role for any successful scaling model, which was the main subject of today's discussion. Before diving in, we first approached the concept of scale conceptually, using a theory called the "missing middle," created by Dan McClure and Ian Gray, which explains how complexity and complex environments must be navigated on an organisation's journey to sustainable and optimal scale, and the crucial role of M&E in supporting the scaling process.
Groups then convened to collaboratively work through the scaling assessment map tool, based on the missing middle theory.
Using this instrument, groups were able to refine and to share scaling plans. The exercise also revealed the diverse challenges and outstanding questions that organisations are facing on their scaling journey. This led to engaging conversations and insightful discussions across teams - one of the best parts of the day - but it was also daunting to think about unanswered obstacles ahead.
Teams also had an opportunity to write down expectations and hopes about what could be achieved through the HEA. Then we came back together to tackle some new exercises to develop and refine our Theory of Change! Working with an initial draft of each organisation's theory of change as a launching point, we discussed our programmatic activities in more detail in order to identify central research questions for Wednesday's workshop with AIR. This exercise was exciting, as we thought about all of the interesting research and data that we could explore over the next two years.
Although today's activities involved a lot of individual group work, there were still critical opportunities for cross-organisational sharing and discussion of ideas. Looking forward to building a research framework tomorrow!