Smart Chicago Partners with ORS Impact for Organization Evaluation

Smart Chicago has always relied on small teams to get big things done. Now we're doing an organization-wide evaluation of our work. This photo is from November 2014.

Smart Chicago has always relied on small teams. Now we’re doing an organization-wide evaluation of our work. This photo is from November 2014.

For the last few months, Smart Chicago has been engaged with our partner ORS Impact to “conduct an evaluation of the Smart Chicago Collaborative’s programs and facilitate a robust strategy development process”.

Purpose of Evaluation

Smart Chicago has reached a time in its evolution when it is ready to take a step back and think critically about its path forward. A clear evaluation of what has been accomplished from inception to the present, coupled with a robust strategy development process, will help Smart Chicago make decisions about goals, growth, funding, structure, governance, partnerships, and programmatic strategies aligned with the specific outcomes and impact that Smart Chicago wants to achieve.

This document is focused on the first part of this project, which is the evaluation design phase. The evaluation findings will inform a subsequent strategy development process. ORS Impact has been contracted to help with both the evaluation and the strategy development process.

Key Evaluation Questions

The evaluation is designed to answer the following key questions:

  • What roles has Smart Chicago played within the community over the past four years?
  • What contributions has Smart Chicago made in the space in which it has operated?
  • Toward specific goals
  • On other actors in the community
  • On the ecosystem
  • What work has been most effective and why?
  • What has not been working well and why?
  • How has the Chicago-area landscape in which Smart Chicago operates changed over the past four years, and what are the implications for Smart Chicago?

Together, the answers to these questions will inform the strategy going forward.

In this context, consultants from ORS Impact will be kicking off interviews with dozens of Smart Chicago stakeholders.

We’ve settled on a number of representative projects to frame these discussions:

If you are contacted by our friends at ORS Impact, please consider participating in this important work!

Kyla leading a brainstorming session.

Kyla leading a brainstorming session.