Social Impact Advisors podcast interview Melissa Sariffodeen, CEO of Canada Learning Code
Full interview here
Melissa makes some crucial points underscoring the purpose and function of a strong Theory of Change. Below is a summary of her conversation.
Theory of Change is theory
A theory of change (TOC) is many things, firstly its a theoretical account that says, “if you do these things this will be outcome” but you get validation through a) research, if you’re lucky you can cite research that you can simplify in an IF-Then statement: If this happens then that will happen. You also have to remember that the TOC document is a living document, the best way to work with a TOC is to keep it around, don’t shelve it, continually return to it and refine it through the ongoing research, AND the practicum that results from doing it in real time. To this end the Logic Model is linear, whereas the TOC that and more.
Things will change, learn how to embed theory of change in culture of the organization. Assumptions can change over time. When written a certain hypothesis may not have been researched, so with evolution of the program(s) it may prove/disprove of the assumptions of the TOC