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On the second day of the Social Outcomes Conference 2022, we held a rountable that looked at measuring what matters in outcomes-based partnerships. We welcomed contributions from across the globe including Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and a range of other countries.

Nigel Ball (GO Lab) opened the session by reflecting on the importance in balancing robustness and practicality in programme measurement. In another subject, Adriana Balducci (Education Outcomes Fund) drew from her experience in conducting internal benchmark studies to explore the limitations of quasi-experimental methods when it comes to methodologies and practices. According to Balducci, there is usually no reliable database in place when it comes to some projects. And when some data is available, it tends to lack transparency, leading to more difficulty when it comes to isolating the right variables.

Prof Gary Painter (University of Southern California) added that some methodologies may be robust, but not always appropriate. There was much discussion around the significance of a 'relational' approach in defining outcomes, particularly foregrounded by Seini Jensen and Debbie Sorensen (Pasifica Futures), who talked about the need for a 'cultural change' within the whole process to 'shift away from top-down ways of defining outcomes', and instead towards community led processes and co-designed outcomes. 

Listen to the audio recording of the session.