One of the questions that should keep any funder awake at night is: are we doing the best that can be done with the money?
Answering this naturally leads any funder to ask how do we measure our success?
On one level they can obviously reflect on the work of the projects they fund or partner with. After all, a core measure of success is what happens with the money. But in a wider sense, funders work in different ways and so to understand their effectiveness there has to be an understanding of the strengths or weaknesses of their funding model. For example, are they all about supporting the continuation of work by existing organisations? Or are they an early stage investor who tries to get new ideas off the ground? In this case, how do you measure success when you're starting up new projects? more >
Who are you? Over my next few blogs I’m going to talk a bit more about what I’m doing and how. I hope it’s of some interest to people in itself, but I also want to use it to illustrate some wider points about data collection.
“The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them”
There has been a lot of talk in the sector recently around developing common and shared approaches to measurement. Of course I am supportive of this if it enables a better understanding of social change and ultimately improves our work. more >
I’m changing my ‘default position’ for continuing discussions beyond email. My default will become to continue conversations online, rather than to start with the default of arranging to meet up.
Part of this is that I’m attempting to cut down the amount I travel (pick your favourite justification from saving time/money/environment, sheer laziness/lack of dedication to the cause/providing a shining example of how the internet can be used within daily routines...)
Who wants to shout about something that’s gone wrong?
We have a mission at Nominet Trust to understand how the internet can be used as a force to disrupt social challenges and create positive change (when I write this, it does vaguely sound like it should also be the motto of a lesser known slightly geeky comic book hero, whose secret power is wifi.)
A lot of our work is about looking at new models for change. However, by their definition, not every new model is going to impact on a social challenge as deeply as another, and even if a model has worked in one place there’s no guarantee that it’s going to work in another. Scaling and replication is not a simple business. more >
Seeing pictures, it seems, is a deceptively tricky business. Leonardo Da Vinci suggested we might look at a stain on a wall and see "heads of men, diverse animals, battles, rocks, seas, clouds, woods and similar things". Our imagination can powerfully alter the mental image we create for ourselves: what we see is only partially determined by what we're looking at. Crucially, our imagination is directed by our intention: a professional Renaissaince wall-cleaner, for example, might have seen in Leonardo's stain only an embarrassing mistake (or a business opportunity). more >