Measuring networked outcomes

Measuring networked outcomes

In 1997 a 3 year study took place across 12 Chicago elementary schools. They found that in schools with high levels of relational trust between pupils, teachers and parents that the academic achievement was much higher. Increased levels relational trust were attributed to the everyday exchanges between the school community.

How many parents, teachers and pupils know that how they interact with each other can make a big difference to the pupils grades?

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And what if we could show that everyday interactions with shopkeepers, people waiting at the bus stop, or people we pass on the street created trust and attachment to place ... and long term economic prosperity?

"Civic health remains a leading predictor of change in employment, even when more statistical controls (alternative explanations for the trend in unemployment) are added to the models”

“This is a powerful reminder that when our nation’s citizens are more connected, more engaged, and more invested in one another as common stakeholders in a shared future, our communities are stronger” 

National Conference on Citizenship, 2011

These are only some examples of the dozens of studies that show how outcomes are achieved through networks or through social capital.  And yet we still haven’t developed the means to map these indirect, networked outcomes on a wide scale, much less how we effectively support these outcome generating behaviours on a day to day basis.

The work we are doing in Barking and Dagenham, through the Every One Every Day initiative aims to generate a large amount of social capital, and create thick networks by stimulating a lot of contact between neighbours - primarily doing practical, helpful activity. We will find it relatively easy to measure direct and accumulative outcomes. But how will we measure the networked effects, and how might we promote resident understanding that even the smallest interactions with their neighbours makes a real difference to everyone’s lives … that these small actions add up.

We start work through the Co-production Lab this year. We will be recruiting a Director in January who will work closely with the team at Barking and Dagenham council. The team will also be looking at how sets of activity might act to reduce some complex issues such as domestic violence - that could include many things, from specialist  services, to resident activity to increase confidence and learning… all the way through to relational trust in schools.

The first six months will include a very careful study of all the different activity in the borough that already supports the reduction of complex problems, and we know we will find a lot of this already taking place in every corner of borough.

If you have any good ideas about how we might map and measure these outcomes on an ongoing or snapshot basis, from the large professional, institutional outcomes, to the smaller peer-to-peer ones, please get in touch.

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Tessy Britton