Jenny Riley, Chief Innovation Officer with Clear Horizon, sat down briefly with Damien Sweeney, Principal Consultant in Clear Horizon International, to chat about his love of a good program logic.
What’s the purpose of a program logic?
I see program logics as having a couple of purposes. Firstly, a logic provides a relatively simple visualisation of what one wants to achieve, and how to get there, without getting bogged down interpreting pages of words. A program logic is like a road map to guide implementation teams, and as a communication tool to stakeholders, including donors, and the clients, or end-users, or beneficiaries.
Secondly, the process of developing the logic is a great way to make explicit people’s knowledge, and gaps in knowledge. Ideally, program logics should be developed in a participatory manner, including subject matter experts, the end-users or beneficiaries, and program staff, among other. Knowledge is contextual, and experts may not have the lived-experience of the clients, and vice-versa. There is also a need to facilitate the process so that the logic represents what is possible, within the time frame and resources. The process of discussing what the end outcome is, and how it is expected to get there, can generate great discussion and clarification even among program staff. It’s the case of the journey being just as important as the destination.
You have experience in behaviour change. How do you see this fitting in with program logic?
An understanding of behaviour change is critical to designing programs for effective change. Whatever the sector, programs tend to require people changing social or professional practices, market practices, and these are all behaviour change. Changing someone or a group’s behaviour is not simply about providing information to improve knowledge or attitudes. Behaviour change frameworks provide the means to frame the right questions to the right people so we understand the drivers and barriers to change. This fits in with the concept of ‘user-centred’ design. It’s easy and cheap to make assumptions, but effective programs require an understanding, through research and not assumptions, the multiple causes to a problem. Just look at how much large product and services company spend on market research – they know that the more you invest up front, the more effective your service or product will be.
So what do you learn from attending a Clear Horizon training?
You gain an understanding of the fundamentals of program logics, and how to go about developing one through an interactive approach. Once you have the knowledge and the more you put the skills into practice, the better you’ll be at developing good logics. They can be used in so many applications – internal organisational change, strategy development, and change programs – domestic or international. It’s an essential tool and skill for designers, program staff, and evaluators – actually, for everyone really.