Introducing the IIU’s Theory of Change

Victoria Carlan, Lead, Impact Measurement 

My name is Victoria Carlan and I lead the Impact and Innovation Unit (IIU)’s Impact Measurement group. Our group helps ensure that Impact Canada Initiative projects have a rigorous measurement framework in place to evaluate the impact of the new approaches we are testing.

One of the first tasks I led upon joining the IIU was to develop our Theory of Change. Together, staff and management worked collaboratively to arrive at this first iteration. As our work advances, we will monitor how we are progressing and adapt our approach as we evaluate what works and what doesn’t. We will also reach out to the growing number of partners and stakeholders to collect their views and perspectives on our Theory of Change so that we can make the most of our collective resources and the ideas of others who – like us - are wanting to achieve better more lasting outcomes for Canadians.

You may be wondering why we choose to develop a Theory of Change. When it comes to outcomes-based policy approaches, such as innovative financing models and policy design innovations, the Government of Canada is in new territory. Many countries around the world have already adopted these approaches and are benefiting from these new ways to design and deliver services. While we can borrow lessons learned from our global counterparts, Canada will have to find its own way given our unique context and set of opportunities and challenges. Using a Theory of Change has helped us build consensus on the systems changes we are seek and how we intend on realizing them. As you will see, it is not one or two activities or initiatives but a series of interdependent efforts. Perhaps not as evident is that we will be working with many of you, as well as experts around the world, to help us find the best ways to leverage leadership at all levels of the public service, designing new approaches to measuring impact, and testing promising solutions in policy areas that have proved challenging in the past.

In the coming weeks, we will put our Theory of Change into action by rolling out the monitoring and developmental evaluation strategies. I promise to share our progress with you through this blog and other fora. In the meantime, I invite you to look at our Theory of Change. Feel free to send me your comments or questions or share your own experiences supporting change through innovation. I look forward to hearing from you!  

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