Discussion Paper: Innovations in Monitoring and Evaluation

This discussion paper produced by the United Nations Development Programme discusses various innovations that are occurring in M&E, and the advantages and disadvantages of these methods.


"Innovations Overview 

1. Multi-level Mixed Evaluation Method 
This approach includes the deliberate, massive and creative use of mixed (quantitative and qualitative) methods on multiple levels for complex evaluations, particularly for service delivery systems 
2. Participatory Statistics 
An approach in which local people themselves generate statistics; participatory techniques are replicated with a large number of groups to produce robust quantitative data 
3. Outcome Harvesting
An evaluation approach that does not measure progress towards predetermined outcomes, but rather collects evidence of what has been achieved, and works backward to determine whether and how the project or intervention contributed to the change
4. Crowdsourcing
A large number of people actively report on a situation around them, often using mobile 
phone technology and open source software platforms 
5. The Micro-Narrative The collection and aggregation of thousands of short stories from citizens using special 
algorithms to gain insight into real-time issues and changes in society 
6. Mobile Data Collection 
The targeted gathering of structured information using mobile phones, tablets or PDAs using a special software application 
7. Data Exhaust
Massive and passive collection of transactional data from people’s use of digital services like mobile phones and web content such as news media and social media interactions 
8. Intelligent Infrastructure 
Equipping all – or a sample of – infrastructure or items, such as roads, bridges, buildings, water treatment systems, handwashing stations, latrines, cookstoves, etc., with low-cost, remotely accessible electronic sensors 
9. Remote Sensing Observing and analyzing a distant target using information from the electromagnetic 
spectrum of satellites, aircrafts or other airborne devices 
10. Real-Time, Simple Reporting 
A means to reduce to a minimum the formal reporting requirements for programme and project managers and free up their time to provide more frequent, real-time updates, which may include text, pictures, videos that can be made by computer or mobile devices 
11. Data Visualization Representation of data graphically and interactively, often in the form of videos, interactive websites, infographs, timelines, data dashboards, maps, etc." (p.5)



  • The Development Context
  • Why Innovation in Monitoring & Evaluation is Necessary
  • Taxonomy of types of new, digital data sources potentially relevant to M&E systems
  • What Qualifies as Innovation in Monitoring & Evaluation
  • Purpose of Innovation in Monitoring & Evaluation
  • Inventory of Innovations
  • Issue Analysis
  • Policy Options and Actions
  • Trends in Innovation in Monitoring and Evaluation
  • When and How to Apply Innovations
  • Implications
  • Annex
  • Bibliography


UNDP (2013) Discussion Paper: Innovations in Monitoring and Evaluation. [Draft] Retrieved from http://www.outcomemapping.ca/download/UNDP%20Discussion%20Paper%20Innovations%20in%20Monitoring%20and%20Evaluation.pdf 


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