Articulate Theory of Change

Purpose
  1. Final­ize out­come statement(s) based on insights gained in devel­op­ing results chains and strat­e­gy maps.
  2. Describe the con­ser­va­tion chal­lenge, the solu­tion, and why your orga­ni­za­tion and/or team is posi­tioned to imple­ment the solu­tion in a suc­cinct way that col­leagues, part­ners, stake­hold­ers and fun­ders can under­stand and support.
Products
  • A nar­ra­tive the­o­ry of change
 

Your the­o­ry of change (ToC) explains how and why you think your strate­gies will achieve its intend­ed out­comes. The­o­ries of change are an impor­tant ingre­di­ent for strat­e­gy devel­op­ment and are an essen­tial ingre­di­ent in devel­op­ing mea­sures to assess the effec­tive­ness of the actions you take to imple­ment your strat­e­gy. It is the process for devel­op­ing a ToC, as much as the final prod­uct, which is ben­e­fi­cial for devel­op­ing robust out­comes and pro­mot­ing a com­mon under­stand­ing about a strat­e­gy’s impact. A ToC should clar­i­fy what changes are need­ed in norms and oth­er fac­tors in order to achieve your ulti­mate aim and to pur­sue the most effi­cient path to get there. Devel­op­ing a ToC helps to iden­ti­fy poten­tial road­blocks, leaps of log­ic in your think­ing, assump­tions to mon­i­tor, and risks to suc­cess. It also ensures that every­one on the team is oper­at­ing under the same set of assump­tions and can see how their actions con­nect to crit­i­cal inter­me­di­ate results and the ulti­mate out­come. (adapt­ed from Evans, et al., 2005)

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  • Succinctly state the conservation challenge.

  • Articulate the solution using the logic of the key steps from the results chain.

    • Note where logic steps currently lack evidence.

  • Define desired outcomes.

    • A complete outcome statement includes five parts:

  • Explain why your organization or team is well suited to implement this strategy.

  • Explain enabling conditions.

    • Create enabling conditions.

  • Articulate any key assumptions that underpin the strategy.

Minimum Standard Questions
  1. Is the logic describing why your strategies will lead to the stated outcomes clear, supported by strong results chains and evidence, and compelling to those reading your theory of change for the first time?
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What is the difference between a theory of change and a results chain?

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