Our evidence and analytical methodology
The proof of our impact is in the numbers: crop yields, sales data, production amounts. We produce evidence of our success by generating data through an integrated digital network that combines cloud-based storage with in-the-field mobile applications. We also use rigorous impact evaluations—both internally and externally-led—that take our time and resources into account, as well as real-time, dynamic data flows. The information we gather allows us to critically analyze what we’re doing and helps us make better decisions—whether we’re testing a hypothesis in a controlled environment or validating anecdotal evidence in a way that’s rigorous and credible.
Three Global Key Performance Indicators
Although iDE measures multiple project-level indicators, we have three high-level key performance indicators for our organizational and country-level performance:
- Scale: the number of households with which we work.
- Impact: the average annual net household increase in both income and savings achieved by households with which we work.
- Social Return on Investment (SROI): the ratio of money spent by iDE relative to the aggregate increased income generated (or saved, for our WASH portfolio) by participating households estimated using a three-year rolling average.
iDE focuses on collecting both real-time data allowing us to make programmatic decisions to improve results, and impact data to know if we achieve the outcomes we are striving for and maximize the benefit to our clients. We have pioneered a dynamic, cloud-based information system that can connect every aspect of our operations, from a farm business advisor's smartphone to a manager’s laptop to our Denver headquarters - while still being flexible enough to work with the needs of our field staff collecting data on the ground. With in-house expertise in impact evaluation and research design, we are able to statistically measure the impactfulness of our work and share learnings with our donors, sector partners doing similar work and with the individuals and communities we work with.
Our experts build on over 30 years of human-centered design and market development expertise with our partners to learn best practices from each other and use this depth of experience to inform new solutions. Our Global Evidence & Analytics team provides context-specific support to our staff around the world at every stage of a project to increase rigor in measurement, understand the impact and efficiency of our work, and equip every iDE staff member with the tools and methods needed to deliver lasting change.
Our 10:1 Commitment
iDE strives for a global average of $10 in annual income or livelihood savings for our clients for every dollar we deploy across our global portfolio. Under this commitment, we report our Social Return on Investment (SROI) over a three-year rolling average. This average captures the bigger picture. In the first year of any new program, costs can be substantially higher because of the need to invest in design, marketing, and training. In the future, we’d like to capture the longer term impact of our work, both on local communities and across our entire global organization: the result of establishing sustainable markets that remain active and vibrant long after we leave.
Measuring Impact Beyond Income
Meanwhile, we’re pioneering new ways to measure prevailing circumstances. One is an innovative women’s empowerment and WASH indicator, tracking dietary diversity and food security, estimating the reduction in infant mortality. Another is our landmark Market System Resilience Index (MSRI), which enables us to track the resilience of the wider market system, specifically in rural contexts, helping us better understand and adapt our market creation approach to local contexts. It also allows us to learn from what works across all of our country offices.
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