The Short Answer
1. Ask people how they experience the results (e.g. healthy and safe children) in their every day lives. What do we see, hear, feel? For example, for safe children, we might observe children wearing bike helmets.
2. Experience” is the bridge between plain language results and indicators. Each experience is a pointer to a potential indicator. Observing bike helmets might be a pointer to bike accident rates with head injury or rates of unintended injury for children and youth.
(1) The principle function of developing or articulating an experiential version of a result is as a set of pointers to potential indicators. So ask the group, “How would you experience healthy children in your day to day lives? What would you see hear feel observe as you walked around the community?”
(2) Identifying experience is a first step in identifying indicators, but it has a value above and beyond this function.
(a) Experience of a result is another way to ground the result (and the idea of results) in everyday experience. It is another way to connect with the partners who are parents, youth, businesspeople, faith community members and others who are put off by jargon and exclusionary language.
(b) Experiential versions of a result can actually be used to steer the planning process in the absense of good data, or while data is being developed. (LINK TO PATHWAYS DISCUSSION)
(3) TECHNIQUE: Brainstorm a list of experiences for each indicator. As you do this, it is quite common for members of the group to offer up ideas that come later in the framework. Most common among these are actual indicators themselves or what works ideas. For example if you are leading a process to generate a list of experiences for “Children Ready for school” you might get:
- I would see children playing well on the playground (experience)
- The young children I meet would know their ABC’s (experience)
- The percent of children promoted from kindergarten to first grade (indicator)
- Every child who needs child care would get it. (what works strategy)
It is important for the leader of this process to be able to identify when the suggested item is off task. But it is also important to deal with this in a respectful way that helps reinforce peoples knowledge of the thinking process (“That’s a great idea, but it’s a suggestion about what works and we’ll get to that in this part of the process – refer to the schematic). It is also important not to lose the idea. One way to do this is to have blank flipchart paper on the wall for indicators, story behind the curve, partners, and what works, so that ideas that come up at any time during the work session can be captured in the right place.