Developing Shared Measurement

Developing a shared measurement system is essential to collective impact.  Agreement on a common agenda is illusionry without agreement on the ways success will be measured and reported.  Collecting data and measuring results consistently on a short list of indicators at the community level and across all participating organisations not only ensures that all efforts remain aligned, it also enables the participants to hold each other accountable and learn from each other’s successes and failures.

Reaching agreement on shared measurements is one of the more difficult aspects of collective impact work.

What are shared measures?

Shared measurement has been defined as the “use of a common set of measures to monitor performance, track progress towards outcomes and learn what is and is not working in the group’s collective approach” (John Kania, FSG).

images-7Shared measures allow a Collective Impact initiative to:

    • Improve Data Quality
    • Track Progress Toward a Shared Goal
    • Enable Coordination and Collaboration
    • Learn and Course Correct
    • Catalyze Action

How to develop a shared measurement system

There are three phases to developing a shared measurement system.

Phase 1: Design

  • Shared vision for the system and its relation to broader goals, theory of change or roadmap
  • View of current state of knowledge and data
  • Governance and organization for structured participation
  • Identification of metrics, data collection approach, including confidentiality/ transparency

Phase 2: Develop

  • Shared vision for the system and its relation to broader goals, theory of change or roadmap
  • View of current state of knowledge and data
  • Governance and organization for structured participation
  • Identification of metrics, data collection approach, including confidentiality/ transparency

Phase 3: Deploy

  • Learning forums and continuous improvement
  • Ongoing infrastructure support
  • Improve system based on a pilot, review, refinement, and ongoing evaluation of usability

Steps to develop shared measures

Key success factors in the development of shared measurement systems

Effective relationship with funders:

  • Strong leadership and substantial funding (multi-year)
  • Independence from funders in devising indicators, managing system

Successfully implementation of shared measures require not only a commitment from collaborators, but also from their funders to re-align funding requirements to reflect those of the initiative.

images-2Broad and open engagement:

  • Broad engagement during design by organizations, with clear expectations about confidentiality/transparency
  • Voluntary participation open to all organizations

Infrastructure for deployment:

  • Effective use of web-based technology
  • Ongoing staffing for training, facilitation, reviewing data accuracy

Pathways for learning and improvement:

  • Testing and continually improving through feedback
  • Facilitated process for participants to share data and results, learn, and better coordinate efforts

Some great examples of shared measurement reports

A critical part of the shared measurement system is progress reporting.  Below are some impressive examples of how some Collective Impact initiatives report: