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Listening to “beneficiaries” and the more measurement bandwagon

My letter to the editor in the most recent Stanford Social Innovation Review print edition, in response to “Listening to Those Who Matter Most, the Beneficiaries.” (Thanks @lithaca for the pic.)

SSRI letter

…“more measurement” bandwagon. There’s a lot of value in big data, and it may be tempting to place local leaders’ expertise within the big-data paradigm. However, we need to be cognizant that our obsession with results is the product of an educated, Western, male-centric tradition, and it can be dangerously reductive. It’s a big, big world out there, full of people who relate to “data” very differently (and, in many case, much less desperately) than we do.

The practice of listening to beneficiaries is tremendously valuable, and it will lead to better outcomes—not because it yields more or better data, but because it is the right thing to do.


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