What We Do

IDinsight helps clients make socially impactful decisions by using rigorous evidence.

Our core service tailors rigorous impact evaluation methodologies – including, but not limited to, randomized controlled trials – to the priorities and constraints of decision-makers in international development. We make rigorous impact evaluations demand-driven, affordable and timely, so that policymakers and social sector managers can use them as a practical decision-making tool.  In order to more fully support our clients in maximizing their social impact, we offer a range of additional services. Depending on client needs, we:

1.    Diagnose social challenges in context: Understanding how to address social problems is rarely straightforward.  We help managers establish the conceptual foundation to maximize impact by mapping potential theories of change, reviewing existing knowledge, interviewing stakeholders and experts, collecting data from the field, and identifying key programmatic gaps.

 2.    Design potential solutions: Effective interventions are rarely one-size-fits-all, so solutions cannot simply be imported from other countries.  We help managers design context-appropriate interventions based on a thorough diagnosis of the challenges, and pressure-testing of potential interventions. We then work with our clients to rigorously evaluate these potential solutions to decide which should be scaled up (see below).

3.    Rigorously evaluate potential solutions: In complex environments, it is often impossible to say whether a given intervention will be impactful. That is why we help our clients rigorously evaluate potential solutions to help them decide which one (if any) they should scale up. Our impact evaluations are designed to provide rigorous, actionable evidence in time to inform our clients’ decisions. The following characteristics exemplify our approach to using impact evaluation as a practical decision-making tool:

Demand-driven – Evaluation questions are sourced through consultation with our clients, with explicit emphasis on questions with immediate relevance to client operations.

Responsive – We know that governments and NGOs often have deadlines that do not align with the typical research timeline. We focus on generating the most rigorous evidence possible within the decision-making timelines of our clients.

Rigorous – Given how dynamic most developing country contexts are, it can be hard to know if a program created real change. Simply measuring outcomes before and after implementation is usually not good enough – outcomes might have changed even without the program. In order to accurately identify the impact of a program (compared to what would have happened without the program), we use experimental and quasi-experimental methods such as randomized controlled trials, difference-in-difference with matching and regression discontinuity designs. We select evaluation methods to maximize rigor within the operational and implementation constraints of our clients.

Context-specific – We design our studies to be generalizable to the intended area of scale of our client organization, whether that is one district, one state, or an entire country. We are less concerned with whether something that we test in Uganda will also work in India, and focus our efforts instead on helping each individual client scale up the best possible program it can within its geography.

4.    Provide monitoring and evaluation advisory services: A rigorous impact evaluation is not always the optimal learning tool for a particular stage of a program or organization. We help organizations determine what types of monitoring and evaluation activities will best serve their organizational learning needs and help them integrate these into their operations.

5.    Operationalize scale-up of high-impact interventions: Social change requires more than reports.  We work hand-in-hand with clients to implement at-scale the interventions found to be high-impact by our rigorous evaluations.

As a client-service organization, we make the most rigorous impact measurement tools practical for managers while maintaining the highest ethical and professional standards.

Read our working paper “Evaluations with impact: decision-focused impact evaluation as a practical policymaking tool” for more information.

Go to the Projects page to read about specific projects.