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Managing for outcomes: using logic modeling

The starting point for introducing challenging programmes that cut across many work groups and departments is to find ways to articulate and guide planned project activities, especially those intended to produce dissemination and utilisation outcomes. Many managers do not have the tools to easily set out, document, and communicate complex programme goals, activity strategies, and intended outcomes. Logic models can assist these goals by encouraging project staff to plan for results by envisioning a 'big picture' view of a project's scope of work and potential significance to various target systems. Other names for logic models include 'outcomes models', 'causal chains', or 'intervention logic models' (ILMs).

Logic models are narrative or graphical depictions of processes in real life that communicate the underlying assumptions upon which an activity is expected to lead to a specific result. They generally illustrate a sequence of cause-and-effect relationships, i.e. a systems approach to communicate the path toward a desired result. The model describes logical linkages among programme resources, activities, outputs, and audiences, and highlights different orders of outcomes related to a specific problem or situation. Importantly, once a programme has been described in tenns of the logic model, critical measures of perfonnance can be identified. In this way logic models can be seen to support both planning and evaluation. A good place to start is with this introduction to logic models, and a more detailed introduction to outcomes. Below are annotated links to a number of intervention logic resources:

Often people talk about logic models and theory of change processes interchangeably, Logic models - such as the ones above - connect programmatic activities to client or stakeholder outcomes. But a theory of change goes further, specifying how to create a range of conditions that help programmes deliver on the desired outcomes. These can include setting out the right kinds of partnerships, types of forums, particular kinds of technical assistance, and tools and processes that help people operate more collaboratively and be more results focused. You may also be interested in the related topic of indicator development. Another related page can be found in the knowledge management section with links on how best to develop conceptual models.

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Will Allen
This site is researched, written & maintained by Dr Will Allen.

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