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An evidence-based approach 

Once problems, weaknesses and gaps are diagnosed, the next step is of course working on possible solutions. IRC advocates for an evidence-based approach to change - involving action research and a consultative process to identify promising solutions, experiments to test them, and analysis to determine the most appropriate before scaling up.

This step includes:

  • Development and implementation of a research agenda to better understand (and create awareness) of the problem;
  • Identification and prioritisation of possible solutions;
  • Formulation of experiments to test promising solutions, including defining indicators for success;
  • Analysis of policy and budget implications;
  • Communication and dialogue around solutions and testing.

Involving the people and organisations - at all levels - who will be responsible for supporting and implementing changes improves the quality of solutions, ensures buy-in, and increases the chances of successful solutions going to scale. Communication and learning are thus key functions in this phase. NGOs can play an important role - supporting testing and communication of innovations.

Tools & guidance

Classification of phases of innovation: provides a phased approach to developing and testing solutions - from understanding the problem to scaling up successes. It includes guidance on formulating experiments and important questions to ask and potential failure points at each phase.


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