After an inspiringly productive Refinement phase it's time we turn our attention to the Evaluation phase. While this task is no easy feat it's important that the community weighs in on the impressive Refinement list to evaluate how well they've answered the Challenge criteria. The Amplify Team will soon gather to discuss the shortlist – and the community's answers during the Evaluation phase are an essential piece of the puzzle.
Before we get started, we have asked the Amplify Team to provide clarity around the evaluation criteria and to offer some pointers on making the most of the Evaluation phase:
Does the idea have the potential to impact the lives of low-income women and girls living in urban areas?
Our first Amplify challenge focuses on solutions designed to make life better for low-income women and girls living in urban areas. We’re interested in finding ideas that solve problems associated with the unique conditions of the urban environment – so we’re looking for ideas that are specific to this context.
Likewise, our challenge is also focused on helping women and girls in low-income communities. This means that the solutions we choose for the Shortlist will need to be accessible to women with few resources and limited access to technology.
Does this idea describe a set of next steps and a timeline to accomplish them?
The 52 ideas that advanced to the Refinement stage for this challenge are all at different stages in their path toward implementation. Some of the ideas are very early-stage and may require additional design research and large amounts of testing potential users before the idea is finalized. Some of the other ideas that have advanced to Refinement are quite far along and perhaps just need funding or a bit of design support from IDEO.org to get started with or expand implementation.
Wherever an idea is in its development, it’s very important during the Evaluation phase that we can envision a clear path toward implementation – even if that path might have many twists and turns along the way.
What do we mean by a path to implementation? This is a great question. As human-centered designers, we believe testing our ideas with the local community early and often throughout the design process is critical. This is called prototyping. Based upon real feedback from prospective users during prototyping, our ideas are refined and improved. Eventually, our continuous prototyping leads to a refined solution that can be implemented in earnest – a pilot. A pilot can be quite small, but they are important because they provide real-world data and experience to learn from. They are also the first step towards scale.
The ideas on our final Shortlist can fall anywhere in the spectrum – from prototype-ready to completed pilots poised to scale, but each idea must be able to clearly articulate where they are in this process.
How feasible would it be to implement a pilot of this idea in the next 12-18 months?
Start small and get answers early. This is a goal of both human-centered design and the Amplify program. We know that some of the ideas we support will fail. That’s how innovation works and we are comfortable with this outcome. However, the goal of the Amplify program is to achieve failure (if it occurs) quickly and at a small scale. This way we can either modify the idea, or learn from it and move on, at minimal cost. Can you imagine a pilot version of this idea succeeding or failing in the next 12 to 18 months? Or is it operating on a much longer timeline?
Time and speed are not the only considerations, either. Not all projects may be of suitable scope for Amplify. Amplify grants are designed to be roughly between $50,000 and $100,000 each, so it is important that this scale of investment could fund at least a pilot of our Shortlist ideas in the next 12 to 18 months.
Does this idea bring a new and fresh approach to the city or region in which it’s set?
Amplify seeks to identify and support innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing development issues, so we’re interested in both new and existing ideas. In either instance, however, we’d love your help to understand whether the proposed idea is bringing something unique to the context for which it is designed. If there are existing organisations doing something similar, is this idea taking a new or modified approach? Or perhaps this is an idea that has worked really well in one location (let’s say Nairobi) and is now being tried in an entirely new setting (like Dhaka, maybe).
How scalable is this across regions and cultures?
As we mentioned earlier, our goal is to support ideas that can be prototyped and piloted quickly and at a small scale in the community for which it is initially intended. That said, we want to invest in ideas that – if they succeed – may be expanded or applied elsewhere as well. This does not mean that the individual or organisation who submitted the idea must be prepared to expand – but it does mean that we’d like to find ideas that could be reasonably adapted to serve additional communities, cities and even countries if all goes well.
While we know that there is no 'one size fits all' solution to women and girls’ safety, help us understand which of the Refinement ideas could have potential in multiple regions of the world and across cultures.
Overall, how do you feel about this concept?
What do your instincts say? Based upon your personal experiences and what we learned during the Research phase, does this idea have a good chance to be successful? We’ve left some extra space as part of this final question so that you can elaborate a bit on your evaluation.