About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Meaningful Measurement

This guide explores how local government innovators are realigning measurement and evaluation practices to better fit the complexity and interconnectedness of social challenges, enabling them to develop a culture of continual learning. It considers how adopting a different mindset around measurement practices can help local authorities to learn about complex problems, the people experiencing them and what difference their work makes. It also looks at why a change is necessary and how pioneering local authorities are adapting their practice, providing a selection of case studies and tools.

Measurement can be used to fulfill many different purposes, depending on the context in which it’s being used. It can help organisations judge the relative success or failure of their activities; provide accountability to a range of different stakeholders; increase transparency around performance, clarifying and signalling which outcomes are important; and help them learn how to adapt, improve, and understand their progress.

In the experience of the members of the Meaningful Measurement workgroup, who developed this guide, there is an over-emphasis on accountability data collection – in particular the focus on ensuring actions generate the best ‘value for money’. This frequently overshadows how measurement and evaluation can be useful and support learning.

Embedding a ‘measurement for learning’ approach requires local authorities to consciously explore a cultural shift based on a collaborative, systemic, long-term mindset, which will enable a more fundamental change than simply introducing new tools alone.

The workgroup paid particular attention to the underlying beliefs, values and principles of their measurement practice, using them to develop a set of shared values and principles which, from their experience, enable measurement for learning.

Created using the insight and practical experiences of the Upstream Collaborative's Meaningful Measurement workgroup.

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Jenni Lloyd

Jenni Lloyd

Jenni Lloyd

Programme Manager, Innovation Programmes

Jenni was a Senior Programme Manager, responsible for the development, management and delivery of government innovation programmes.

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