On Tuesday, 3 April 2018, SIMNA NSW gathered at Lendlease in Barangaroo to learn how to measure success in place-based solutions. This event was live tweeted. If you’re on Twitter, you can watch it here!
Planning a SIMNA NSW Event
I’m always a bit nervous when planning a new SIMNA Committee event – particularly when it’s an area I don’t work in every day. The process of planning an event usually starts with the SIMNA NSW Committee getting together over a coffee and sharing:
- things they are hearing from members and the community around measurement
- current leading examples of people doing great work
- ideas for capacity building of members
Place-based approaches are definitely a growing area of interest to many of our members and are rightly being recognised as crucial to responding effectively to certain community challenges. It should be no surprise that research and data from around the world continue to show that better outcomes can be achieved for individuals and families when they live in strong, inclusive and supportive communities.
The second part of planning a SIMNA event is identifying the current leaders in the field and finding examples of practice that may be of interest to members. This is when I really appreciate being part of a superb team of volunteers (the NSW Committee) who are all leaders in outcomes measurement in Australia. They generally know what work is going on and who would be best to speak to on any particular topic. This is one of the core components of the SIMNA network – being able to support members by connecting them with others who are working through similar challenges and can share their learnings in a safe space.
Finally, we have to call up some incredibly busy superstars and see if they are willing to volunteer time to share their work with our members. It would not be possible for SIMNA to put on chapter events without the time provided by our speakers and facilitators.
And when this all goes well – you get an event like the one we just had. An absolute cracker!
Three key takeaways
It is difficult to summarise an event, so this time I thought I would ask a few people (including myself) what their three key takeaways are.
- View and download Alison’s presentation
- View and download Kerry’s presentation
- View and download David’s presentation
Matt Bevan, Uniting:
- The importance of stakeholders being included at all stages of the measurement journey (this is one of SIMNA’s core principles). This was superbly highlighted by our speakers – who all made sure data and its uses are ‘owned’ by the local community.
- Trusting a new way of working. Collaborative and placed based approaches are developing rapidly in Australia and a key requirement for success is that participating people/organisations commit to, and trust in, a new way of working; that transfers power and authority to others.
- If you need help understanding this type of work, there are some very good people available and willing to help. I am continually impressed with the resources and support provided by the Collaboration for Impact community and their willingness to advocate at all levels for this new way of working.
Alison Harwood, The Smith Family:
- Take every opportunity to be in conversation with community, and pace your work accordingly even if this means less linear and more time heavy process. (Community is a broad term, and I mean all elements but especially those with lived experience who will be impacted by planning and policy decisions).
- The still not yet fully realised potential to bring business around this work – this means better investigating and articulating shared value including but also beyond that ‘everyone benefits from an inclusive and thriving society’.
- (Slight tangent but inspired by one of the questions from the floor): The potential for design and development of place/ new communities to include vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.
- A cheeky fourth item: the place for radical empathy in this work. I think this relates to all of my items above, and it underpins true co-design, healing, and sharing of power.
Kerry Graham, Collaboration for Impact:
- Data is more about power then numbers – power to empower community; power for all stakeholders to learn, adapt, evolve; power to connect effective collaboration with better outcomes
- Data drives place-based change when it is fully embedded in every step of the process of change. New way of thinking and working emerge when all stakeholders, particularly community members, are involved in data collection, analysis and decision-making.
- And my last one is the ringing truth of one of Ready Set Go’s principles – don’t mistake action for progress!
David Lilley, Holos Consulting:
- Its important to match your measurement to the staging of your initiative; you can’t start out with a ready-made framework.
- Effective place-based initiatives work span the local ecosystem (individuals, families, groups, institutions, built environment, etc). Measurement should do the same.
- If the results of your measurement work can’t be expressed simply, few people will care.
All of our speakers have said they are open to hearing from you if you have any further questions – please get in touch.
If you are looking to learn more in this area, we would highly recommend you attend Collaboration for Impact’s Complexity & Evaluation Conference 2018, the peak evaluation learning event for anyone driving system change through place-based reform and social innovation.
Taking place from 3-4 May 2018 at the Melbourne Business School – and featuring international evaluation experts Mark Cabaj and Kate McKegg – the 2-day conference will equip you with tools and strategies to “unpack” complex systems change, and strengthen your approach to evaluating it.
I and the rest of the SIMNA team wish to thank all those involved in our event including members and our expert panel, with a special mention to;
- Doug Taylor from Uniting as our superb facilitator; and
- Michelle Cramer and Erandi Samarakoon from Lendlease for hosting us in such a beautiful location.
SIMNA NSW are always interested in hearing from you about what you think of our events and what you would like us to do to support you in your work – so please remember to get in contact with any of the NSW Committee.
Whilst the local Committee is here to support members – I’d prefer that people view SIMNA as a platform that enables them to lead the change they want to see in their organisations and in society more broadly. So please step up where you see an opportunity and get involved!
Matt Bevan, SIMNA NSW Committee Member, April 2018