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Outlandish theory of change (how we make the world better)

10 May 2018

Outlandish is all about making positive impact to the world, and we start every project with the whole team mapping out how the world will be better once the project is finished. This outcomes mapping process is often known as a “theory of change” – it’s a silly name, but it’s about having a hypothesis about how you’re going to bring about the change you want.

It’s a great process because it means that the developers know they are not trying to “build a form” – they are trying to “make it easier for administrators at Charity X get all the information they need about a client so that they can make a potentially life-changing intervention”. We’ve found it’s led to a lot fewer mistakes and a lot more realised opportunities. We’d highly recommend everyone does one as part of the kickoff of every project.

A year or so ago Outlander Brian Spurling borrowed Outlander Ellie Harries excellent framework and (heroically) took on working out the theory of change for the whole organisation. It was no mean feat to get everyone to agree about what we’re trying to do, why and how, but he did it.

We didn’t publish it at the time – not for any particular reason, it just seemed like an internal document. I’ve realised that it shapes a lot of what we do – who we hire and why, what project we take on, what we pay ourselves, etc. I also tell people about outcomes mapping (theory of change) a lot, and wanted something to link to. So here it is in all its unfinished glory – all credit to Brian for getting it done.