ORS Impact

ors-impact-logoORS Impact works alongside renowned social impact leaders, supporting their work to accomplish their missions. They make the complicated accessible, bringing new research and new approaches to meaningful work, delivering the insights our clients need to move from ideas to impact.

Smart Chicago began working with ORS Impact in October 2014, as they worked to evaluate our KCIC Deep Dive programs for the Knight Foundation. They are collecting original data and interviews, measuring our effectiveness, and helping us develop a coherent theory of change.

In February 2016, we engaged ORS Impact to do an overall evaluation of Smart Chicago itself. Here’s a description of that work:

This project will be a multifaceted effort that includes both an assessment of Smart Chicago’s work to-date and a strategy development process that will lead to concrete decisions and actions for Smart Chicago to move forward. Through this effort, Smart Chicago wants to broadly understand the following:

  • What can Smart Chicago learn from its work in the last four years?
    • What’s been successful and why; what hasn’t been as successful and why
    • What are the implications going forward for future work
  • What’s the optimal structure and governance to support Smart Chicago’s mission and outcomes going forward?
  • What criteria would be useful for assessing new opportunities and roles going forward?

At Smart Chicago’s inception it was imagined to be the center of gravity for civic investments. Smart Chicago doesn’t just fund great work, it also directly engages with the community to increase access to the internet, build digital skills, and develop meaningful products from data. Within this realm are many ways to move forward. A clear evaluation of what has been accomplished to-date, coupled with a robust strategy development process, will help Smart Chicago make decisions about goals, growth, funding, structure, governance, partnerships, and programmatic strategies, all based on specific outcomes and impact that Smart Chicago wants to achieve.