2 Tools for Measuring Action Over Time


This post is part of our ongoing series on the action-oriented process.

Tool 1: The Accountability Scorecard

It’s happened to everyone at least once in their lives. We’ve begun a game; let’s say mini golf, for example. You and your friends are cruising through the course, putting the golf ball through windmills and over little streams, and then halfway through you realize that no one has been keeping score. Although you may have a vague idea, you have no idea how to measure definitively who is winning. Sure, it’s only a game and therefore no big deal, but there is this small sinking sense of futility: if we can’t measure our progress, much of the purpose of the game has disappeared.

To measure progress in insight implementation, one strategy researchers use is what Vivisum calls the Accountability Scorecard. A sample is outlined in the table below. It lays out a concise summary of the project, research requester, objectives, and key findings.


While the format itself can take on a variety of forms, the scorecard is sent to stakeholders who are asked to complete the final column to describe how the findings were implemented. This helps to close the feedback loop at the end of the project and allows the researchers to identify the impact that their research had on the organization.

Tool 2: The Action Archive

Researchers have many talents, but if there is one thing they are especially great at, it’s gathering data. So there are really no excuses for forgoing insight generation on the research process itself. Many researchers are finding that if they record their action items and analyze them, they are able to immediately identify projects that created the biggest impact for their organizations.

The mechanism for accomplishing this analysis is what we call the Action Archive. The format of the individual data points is likely similar to the research scorecard, but it can take the form of a spreadsheet or more formal knowledge management system. The point is that the archive is taking the scorecard one step further by capturing and tracking the action items over time so that researchers have a more complete perspective on the impact that they have on the organization.

Image courtesy of Jonathan McPherskesen on Flickr Creative Commons

Ellen Hart is a Director at Vivisum Partners. She specializes in in-depth qualitative research in healthcare and nonprofit fields. Email Ellen at ellen.hart@vivisumpartners.com