Innovation in Evaluation: an Introduction

At IDEO, we've been starting to think about the social impact of our work, and our journey into the realm of social impact...

At IDEO, we've been starting to think about the social impact of our work, and our journey into the realm of social impact has brought us deeper and deeper into many conversations about metrics. As designers, we are eager to apply our expertise in tackling some of the world's biggest problems, including inadequate education, insufficient access to clean drinking water, and lack of basic health care for the poor. Each initiative we take on has been a rich learning experience about the lives and contexts of the people we are designing for, as well as an ongoing challenge of knowing whether or not we really are achieving the impact we were setting out to make. One avenue we are exploring is the relationship between innovation and evaluation. We're pleased to be partnering with GOOD to bring great minds together and push best practices forward.This week in our first collaborative event, we will host a group of thought leaders at the IDEO San Francisco office to kick start this conversation and help focus the theme of this blog: Innovation in Evaluation. Participants come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including foundations, design firms, management consultancies, and evaluation specialists. Stay tuned for the conversations started in our session this week to continue here on this blog.Since my time as a research director studying community-based preventive health programs at Stanford Medical School in the late 1970s through my more recent role as chief investment officer at Omidyar Network, questions of better ways to measure the impact of innovative solutions and business models have been very much on my mind. During the past 30 years, the field has been slowly accelerating and involving more and more individuals and organizations. Today, the notion that we should evaluate our impact is generally accepted as a given. How such evaluation is conducted and whether or not it's informative is still debatable. This conversation is an opportunity to bring together some of the top thinkers and organizations on evaluation, and share what we've learned and how we've grown with a much broader group of participants.We hope this forum will become a central gathering place for participants worldwide to explore innovative approaches to evaluation. Each week, we will take on a new theme related to measuring impact and will feature both guest authors and IDEO bloggers. We invite everyone working and thinking about this topic to contribute thoughts and experiences to the conversation.Guest blogger Doug Solomon is the Chief Technology Officer at IDEO.
via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

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A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

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Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger


Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head


Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor


Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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