6 Lessons from Erika McCalpine

Erika McCalpine, Director of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Laboratory at Oregon State University-Cascades (image via Ms. McCalpine)

Decisions are agreements on future action… a fulcrum between today’s power dynamics and tomorrow’s.

Inclusive decision-making creates a future in which everyone can thrive by considering a broader range of perspectives and needs. (image: freepik)

Our Crises of Exclusion

Our current crises are in part caused by exclusion from decision-making. For example:

  • Race: People of color are marginalized from decisions that affect their lives. …

Equity, inclusion, and democracy itself require us to create the future together. How can we ensure these participatory processes fit already busy lives?

Participation is a moral and practical good, but long deliberative processes and constant requests for feedback exhaust participants. Here’s how to make co-design work for everyone. (image: stories)

The past year was probably a time of turmoil and transformation for you. It certainly was for me.

Budworm in its chrysalis (image: wirestock)

Evaluation has often collaborated with racism, plutocracy, neocolonialism, and genocide. We must end our collusion.

Where power dynamics are unequal, measurement is just another means of control. (image by Francis Galton, 1883)

A History of Harm

About six months ago, I decided to write a history of impact measurement, the means by which the benefits and harms of social change work are assessed. It seemed innocent enough. …

The US wasn’t discovered, it was designed. It can be redesigned too.

A historic painting of the Continental Congress with red dots covering the faces of most of the individuals depicted.
People-owners of the Continental Congress, by Arlen Parsa (original by John Trumbull)

It’s our ongoing response that matters, both my response as a white founder and Do Big Good’s response as an organization.

Peaceful protesters prepare to march for Black lives in Seattle on June 3rd. (source: Mer Joyce)

The world was in crisis before COVID-19. What happens to all those other causes now?

Leaders in the social sector must identify actions that meet both the immediate needs of this crisis and the long-term goals of their movements. (Quentin Monge)

A World With One Cause

Yesterday, I was talking to a friend who works for an environmental nonprofit. She described how her team was re-assessing every element of their strategy in the face of COVID-19.

Entire strategies need to change, and in a matter of days, not weeks or months.

For her organization, it is…

Beneficiaries are the experts on their own neighborhoods and their own lives. It makes sense to include them in evaluation.

Everybody into the (impact measurement) pool! (image: AllGo)

Different Needs…Same Metrics?

We measure impact because we want to account for benefits and prevent harms. But different stakeholders in the impact value chain have different needs:

Lagging and leading indicators will change the way you measure — and manage — impact.

While leading impact indicators are forward-looking management metrics, lagging impact indicators are backward-looking and evaluative. Both are needed. (image: Freepik)

What is impact?

Social change is hard. In fact, it’s complex. How can we make it easier to create social change? How can we make social change work more likely to succeed?

Do Big Good

inclusive decision-making // www.dobiggood.com

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