Think Outcomes 2016 Post-Event Recap

SocialsuiteConferences, Social Outcomes Measurement

Think Outcomes 2016 was held over April 12th and 13th in Melbourne and Socialsuite was proud to be sponsors again this year.

The event allowed the social sector to come together and share their ideas and exchange perspectives on recent advancements and innovations within the outcomes measurement space.

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The Think Outcomes 2016 keynote address was presented by Dr. Don Watson, who spoke about language, and how language controls how we think. He suggested simplifying the ‘management language’ of outcomes measurement so that everyone can easily understand our work. Reducing ‘management language’ and complex terms can also improve the understanding of outcomes reports. Additionally, simpler language can encourage more people to become involved in outcomes measurement, as the activity will not appear so complex. Interestingly, this issue of language was also raised in last year’s SIMNA 2015 wrap-up.

David Kalisch, Australian Statistician and Agency Head at the Australian Bureau of Statistics presented on using data to measure outcomes and inform decision. He commented on the challenge of measuring complex results like outcomes. How can you be sure that it was your program that made a difference and not other changes in the beneficiaries environment? Finally, David notes that measuring outcomes can be costly – but continuing an ineffective program can be substantially more so.

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Day 1 also discussed the ongoing topic of outcomes measurement frameworks, and whether the sector can adopt a standardised framework or should remain individually customised. The consensus was that standardisation within a similar field/area makes sense, but the need for individualism (due to sector or program differences) seems to prohibit a single standardised framework. This issue was also raised at last year’s SIMNA event.

Day 2 opened with Tessa Boyd-Caine, founding CEO of the National Centre for Health Justice Partnerships, presenting on how data is the key to generate change. She argued that data must be captured to demonstrate our impact, support our efforts, and to improve our services.

The Socialsuite team also had an opportunity to attend two break-out workshops –

Jenny Riley, from Navigating Outcomes, ran the Shared Value Workshop. Jenny provided an exceptional overview of key areas to consider when trying to measure collaborative impact at a community level. What are the differences between measuring an organisation’s individual outcomes versus community-level outcomes, and what challenges would present at a collaborative level?

Giles Kershaw, from Republic of Everyone, ran the Communicating Outcomes Workshop. Attendees learnt the importance of simplifying their reports. Creating a story for your report can improve readability, as can writing for your audience. Finding that “killer quote” and only including relevant statistics will also increase your reports communication.

A key takeaway from the event was the importance of language simplification and how simpler language can lead to increased awareness and improved outcomes measurement.

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