19 April 2011

Confusing Success with Failure

This infographic from the Harvard Business Review seems pretty appropriate to share these days. Looking at water projects in Bangladesh, this shows how solutions were found that ended up being failures leading to a cycle of success looking like failure.  The lesson is simple, but it highlights the importance of strong monitoring and evaluations after a project has been installed.
The organizations did not fully assess their projects’ impacts. Because they measured success only by the number of wells built and the decline of waterborne illnesses, they missed early signs of the arsenicosis crisis. And they were slow to spot the social problems the painted wells created. They should have developed broader measures of community health and continually monitored them over time, in partnership with the communities.
HT Ned Breslin