Impact evaluation for complex problems: Increasing speed, agility & effectiveness

Presentation First Author: 
Gina Rembe

How do you create an impact evaluation framework that allows for the flexibility of innovation programmes? How do you let the programme and project adapt and change with early feedback?

Social Labs are an emerging approach to tackling dynamic, complex problems such as youth mental health. Lifehack presents learnings from 18 months of running a social lab in Aotearoa New Zealand, with young people at the centre of creating technology-based wellbeing interventions.

Social Labs generate a wide variety of value and thus need be evaluated with new frameworks that measure ‘success’ in multiple ways, which accurately reflects the depth and richness of the process. This has led us to measure processes & outcomes using five capitals: Intellectual (any new knowledge, insights and learning generated during the program), human (new capacities and skills that people acquire throughout a process), social (increased trust and collaboration that manifests itself amongst a group of people), economic (skills, networks, resources leveraged), physical/digital capital (new services or infrastructure such as project interventions). Using impact evaluation as a key element we have learnt to improve rigour, speed and effectiveness of the social lab.

In the context of innovative programmes, new insights will constantly surface which challenge the status quo of health services, projects in development in the lab, and elements of the design process that the lab relies on itself. Lifehack has gained huge insight about how to adopt Agile methodology, a way of working often used in the software development world using 'adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continuous improvement, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change' (

Lifehack will also present findings about using ‘innovation accounting’ (a term coined in Entrepreneurship circles) to embed real-time impact evaluation, which can be shared with funders and governance teams, and how this created a deep culture of trust and transparency with our funders, the Social Media Innovation Fund, administered by New Zealand's Ministry for Social Development.

Conference Name: 
Date of Presentation: 
10th Oct 2015
Type of presentation: 
See other presentations in this Session: