Navigating the Results Paradox: Trade-offs Between Results and Learning
Many development actors have made significant progress towards institutionalizing learning, however, there is a fundamental tension with being accountable to external stakeholders in showing results – the so-called results paradox. That is, every development actor needs to demonstrate results, and shortcomings are sometimes treated by external stakeholders as failures to be punished as opposed to learning opportunities to improve future programming. The fear this creates can result in risk aversion, discourage transparency, and prevent feedback loops from internalizing the learning that comes with experience. How is this results paradox felt by organizations that feel pressure to show positive results but also want to remain rigorous in evaluation, transparent in sharing results, and incorporate learning into policy and programming?
Lead, Learning Team
Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Division
Senior Advisor, Policy & Program Outreach
Plan International USA