Learning for Innovation
Phone: 970-443-9426
Email: info[at]learningforinnovation.com

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About LFI

Learning for Innovation supports organizations and groups of many kinds who are concerned with creating a better world. LFI uses the tools of evaluation, learning, and practice-based research to advance the work of community organizers, service providers, educators, social entrepreneurs, university faculty and students, and international development workers.

Effective Evaluation

Evaluation is a form of social research that focuses on effectiveness -- of a program, service, technology, coalition, campaign, organization, etc. But evaluations themselves need to be effective, not just by being technically robust and getting done on time and on budget, but by ensuring the evaluation process addresses and informs the complexity and messiness of a real program in a real world context. LFI addresses the challenges of conducting effective evaluation in the face of real world complexity by:

  • Engaging in reflective practice with front-line staff and participants to surface and map out the complexities, gray areas, and contextual forces at play.
  • Designing evaluation methods that build in complexity and context, whether as control variables, mixed methods, structural equation modeling, or other research techniques designed to deal with complexity and context.
  • Involving  key staff in the evaluation process, to keep it relevant and to maximize the translation of evaluation findings back into advances in practice.

Innovative Practitioners

Changing the world for the better requires practitioners who routinely examine their thinking and actions, and who adapt their practice to reflect new learning and external changes. LFI believes that the work of transforming individuals and communities is leveraged in powerful ways by the integration of inquiry tools into everyday practice. What tools and processes support the development of innovative practitioners? Examples from LFI's work include:

  • Embedding reflective practice tools into staff or project team meetings to surface and share learning from struggles in the work.
  • Designing and conducting practice-oriented evaluations that integrate the knowledge of the people directly involved in a program (as implementers and recipients), and working with them on how best to apply the results back into practice.
  • Providing technical assistance in monitoring and evaluation to build the capacity of organizations and groups for tracking progress and assessing outcomes, while also strengthening program quality and practice.
  • Implementing educational and community development programs that build in processes for learning and empowerment in front-line staff and community members.
  • Developing tools for partnerships and communities of practice that foster the exchange of practice-based learning and lead to innovation.