Increasing Impact by Focusing on Results
Producing results is about knowing what works and replicating it, but how do we produce results professionals?
The data revolution is well underway and well documented, but are we also in the midst of a results revolution?
During the launch of the Bank Group’s new Results, Measurement and Evidence Stream last week, President Kim reminded the audience that even in a profession, such as medicine, that today is seen as deeply evidence based, the widespread use of results - rather than anecdote - began just 30 years ago. And the same is true in international development. Not so long ago, few people in the Bank Group could produce solid results data.
The Bank Group's commitment to the RMES community of practice shows that having a cadre of trained professionals who are able to objectively monitor and evaluate results and produce evidence that informs future decisions is as important to achieving its goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity as the discipline has been in producing better health outcomes in the medical profession.
Goals of the RMES:
(1) Promote and develop a world-class cadre of results measurement professionals.
(2) Foster a holistic approach towards results and evidence.
(3) Advance the frontiers of knowledge about key technical aspects of monitoring and evaluation to help the World Bank Group and its clients to adopt cutting-edge practices.
Results that benefit clients
IEG has been evaluating what works and what doesn’t in Bank Group interventions since its inception and will be a significant player in the RMES going forward. So, what’s in it for us? As our Director General, Caroline Heider, said at the event, our objective is straightforward - that the Bank be more successful to the benefit of its clients. Creating a means for Bank Group operations to take ownership of self-evaluation and results benefits both those who implemented a project and those - such as IEG - who evaluated it afterwards - and, of course, the beneficiaries. Everyone involved in the process is looking for the same thing - positive results with enduring impact.
Creating tomorrow’s evidence gurus
As we move towards the professionalization of results measurement within the Bank Group, a range of important questions emerge: what skills does it need to invest in to create this new group of professionals; what methodologies and indicators should be used; how to do we create the necessary incentives for evidence; and even how do we define success?
And what about the client perspective? During the event there was a question about whether clients even care about measurement. The answer from IEG’s chief was an emphatic yes - clients want to know what they are getting for the money being spent. They will also be looking for learning products that meet their demands and for indicators that are developed in an interactive way so that they allow for high-level corporate tracking but remain operationally relevant to people on the ground.
Next week a new organizational structure will be rolled out across the Bank Group that is designed to enhance collaboration and knowledge sharing. In his closing remarks last week, President Kim said he was looking for integrators to help share ideas across organizational boundaries. The success of the RMES initiative will be dependent on this integration and collaboration both within the Bank and in client countries. The future of results-informed decision-making depends on it. Long live the results revolution!