Following your hunches – changing how we think about evidence
This is the text of a speech delivered by Jenny North, our Deputy Director, at the Children & Young People Now Conference on 5th December 2018.
Despite our very modern name, the Dartington Service Design Lab is a long-established research charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and young people by helping the systems and services which support them. We work with charities, local authorities, and funders to help them to strengthen the design, delivery, and monitoring of what they do. Our track record and learning over 50 years, particularly over the last ten, has convinced us we need to change the conversation about evidence.
Something we’ve learned a lot about, and so talk a lot about, is that it’s not possible to get a ‘result’ from evaluation that can make you totally confident about your impact – even a Randomised Controlled Trial doesn’t tell you if it’ll work in the future and usually doesn’t explain exactly what led to a positive impac…