This week, I learned about the Theory of Change. Theory of Change is essentially a comprehensive description and illustration of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context. 

It is focused in particular on mapping out or “filling in” what has been described as the “missing middle” between what a program or change initiative does (its activities or interventions) and how these lead to desired goals being achieved. 

It does this by first identifying the desired long-term goals and then works back from these to identify all the conditions (outcomes) that must be in place (and how these related to one another causally) for the goals to occur. These are all mapped out in an Outcomes Framework.

What will you invest?

What problem will you address?

What steps will you take?

How will you measure success?

How can you increase impact?

These questions are at the heart of promoting, funding, and managing organizations for maximizing social impact. The cycle applies to funders, whether they are individuals, governments, foundations, corporations, or investors. It similarly applies to operating organizations that provide services or support to or advocate for beneficiaries.

Personally, these questions are soul searching questions, they can be applied to our personal lives. For example, in academics, when you ask someone, how will you measure your success in school, the student is bound to provide an answer because it also applies to his academics. 

Kevin Starr, CEO of Mulago explained that the eight-word mission is a crucial tool for funding decisions; it also turns out to be a great tool for design. 

A good eight-word mission helps startups to evolve their big idea without getting pulled off track by their business model, the demands of funders, or the latest shiny object they found by the side of the road.

You can’t measure impact unless you know what you’re setting out to accomplish. Getting your mission right is step one in getting your indicators right. 

This is true. When I started my company, it took me a long time to understand my mission statement. most times, I felt it was wordy. After learning from Kevin Starr, I believe I can make amends that will enable me stay on the right track and grow my business.

One of the best ways to set a goal is to pick a small, tangible milestone. If your dream is to save money for a home in the long term, then your first goal could be to save $1,000 in the next three months. 

If your dream is to feel healthier, decide what that means for you. Maybe it means eating 2 servings of vegetables every day for the next month or going on a walk 5 times per week.

Dream big, but start with a goal of reaching one realistic step that will take you closer. Setting an actual goal should be small and tangible. Once you hit the first one, you can set another goal that brings you further down the path to your dream.

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