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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.
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Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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