Strategy development: Most significant change (MSC)

This guide to the Most Significant Change approach, by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), provides an overview, a detailed description of the process, and an example of the technique in action.

It first appeared in the ODI Toolkit, Tools for Knowledge and Learning: A Guide for Development and Humanitarian Organisations.

The information provided was supplied by Alice Macfarlan, BetterEvaluation.  

Authors and their affiliation

Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Key features

This guide provides a quick overview of the Most Significant Change (MSC) approach and some detailed guidance on the steps in the process. It also provides an example of use that describes how Rick Davies, who developed MSC, used the approach to assess the impact of an aid project in Bangladesh.

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

I've used this to gain a quick understanding of the technique and how to apply it. 

Why would you recommend it to other people?

It's brief and easy to read so can be a good starting point. The example used gives a nice narrative about both the benefits of using the approach and how it can be applied.


Overseas Development Institute (2009). Strategy Development: Most Significant Change. [Toolkit]. Retrieved from:

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