This report focuses on what was learned about best practices for evaluating the effects of ecosystem investments along with examples of how others are using these practicesin their work.
Three research questions guided this engagement:
- What are the new / best practices in evaluating the effects of ecosystem investments?
- Which organizations are evaluating these investments well? What can they teach us?
- What relevant outcomes and indicators could Omidyar Network use to evaluate its ecosystem investments?
To answer these questions, FSG conducted the following activities, in addition to drawing on our experience supporting strategic learning and evaluation in complex environments. Appendix A includes a complete list of grants reviewed and interviewees.
- Grants analysis: FSG analyzed Omidyar Network's Initiative Results Architecture frameworks and 23 grants within its ecosystem investment portfolio. These documents helped ground our research in an understanding of the different types of ecosystem investments Omidyar Network is making, as well as how the organization currently evaluates the impact of its ecosystem investments.
- Literature review: FSG reviewed more than 60 publications to identify best practices in evaluating ecosystem investments—these publications included both peer-reviewed journal articles and "grey literature" (conference presentations, blog posts) by organizations employing advocacy-type strategies.
- Interviews: FSG conducted interviews with nine external experts (listed in Appendix A) to more deeply understand effective practices in evaluating the effects of ecosystem investments and to identify leading organizations in this area. Interviewees were identified to glean best practices from both within and outside the traditional social sector.