By Uzair Jaffer, Project Manager, Mobile Business Clinic
Since 2013, Mobile Business Clinic (MBC) has been working all over Ghana to provide agribusiness managers the training and support they need to build the best businesses possible. In our third year as an organization, we have faced several major challenges, many of which were rooted in our failure to create a data-driven culture.
For example, due to an incoherent monitoring and evaluation framework, it is unclear exactly what impacts our training activities have had on our participants and their businesses. When someone asks, “What benefits have your participants received from your training programs?” we have had a difficult time answering the question coherently. This has impacted our ability to sell what we do to prospective participants and other stakeholders.
We do solicit feedback from participants and attempt to monitor and evaluate the progress of the business throughout their time with us; however, we have failed to find the right vision, strategies, methodologies and tools to collect the information required to answer how we can deliver the most impactful services to our clients.
Internally, we have realized these shortcomings and have taken some steps to instill a data-driven culture within the organization. We are developing a new monitoring and evaluation framework that seeks to identify and understand the changes that our training contributes to our clients’ businesses. The new framework goes far beyond understanding client satisfaction and includes concrete business performance data which we will track well after participants have graduated.
We also recently embedded “organizational learning” into our core organizational values. All of our team members have specific performance goals attached to this vision. Moreover, we have shuffled our structure and plan to assign a dedicated staff member to monitoring and evaluation.
We hope to become worthy of calling ourselves a “learning organization.” We believe that these data-driven measures will put us on the right path to addressing a major impediment to the long-term success of our organization.