In this post we look at the benefits being a member of our community brings.
This is the final of six key posts that guide you through OutNav’s features:
- Outcome maps – the cornerstone of OutNav
- OutNav supports team and partnership working
- OutNav streamlines your data and evidence
- Track your progress and impact in OutNav
- Create visual contribution reports in OutNav
- Ongoing learning and support with the OutNav Community (you are here)
Embedding meaningful outcome evaluation takes time
This is an insight we have shared over our years of working in this area. Many of the issues your initiative may be facing around outcomes, evaluation and impact will be similar to those faced by the teams and organisations we work with.
We also know that having time and space to share learning with others on this journey is invaluable so it was always a priority of ours to establish a strong community of users around our approach.
Establishing a community
We have built that positive, constructive space within which our community of OutNav users learn and solve problems together.
The OutNav Community has grown from the small group of pioneering organisations that started Beta-testing OutNav in 2017, to more than 480 members from across 120 organisations and initiatives at last count in July 2021.
Getting together – OutNav Community meetings
We host OutNav Community meetings every quarter. Currently, these are held online and take advantage of features such as breakout rooms to enable the sort of close conversations that enable collaborative learning to take place.
We hope to reintroduce some in person OutNav Community events when it safe to do so. However, the online environment will continue to be a regular focus – allowing our growing body of members across the world, including the Philippines, Australia and Canada, to join us.
Learning from each other
Not only do these events create a space for our clients to share learning and experiences, they allow us to learn from people using OutNav to inform our development of the software. We are constantly improving OutNav with the aim of making meaningful outcome evaluation more manageable and enjoyable.
What I liked was the opportunity to hear what other organisations are doing, some familiar challenges and successesFeedback from OutNav Community meeting
Having a focus
Each OutNav Community meeting focuses on a specific aspect of the OutNav process to unpack, investigate, provide guidance and share learning. Previous meetings focused on embedding reflective practice, the value of collaborative learning, understanding the context of your work, and managing risks and assumptions.
Good discussion topics. Really useful to talk to people from other projects and organisations about OutNav. I like the coffee and scones.Feedback from OutNav Community meeting
Always good to get re-inspired by the Matter of Focus team and remind me why we’re doing thisFeedback from OutNav Community meeting
Twice-weekly drop-in help sessions
Anyone working with OutNav is welcome to drop into our online help sessions, currently held twice every week. Hosted by a member of our team, these sessions are spaces for individuals or small groups to get help with any aspect of working in OutNav. This could be a practical walk-through of the tool for new users, or help with refining stepping stones or pathways through an initiative’s outcome map, for example. Access to these sessions is via the user’s organisational dashboard in OutNav – we host one session a week on Teams, and a second on Zoom.
We had individual support to help us refine our pathways and stepping stones, which was invaluable!Ben McCallum, Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust
The OutNav training zone
Within OutNav, the training zone brings together all of our supporting content, including how-to videos and insight posts about working well with outcomes, impact and evaluation.
The OutNav knowledgebase
OutNav has a cloud-based helpdesk with searchable knowledgebase and the option to raise a support ticket, which a member of our team responds to within (UK) working hours.
Sharing the learning more widely
Our OutNav Community members are pioneering best practice in meaningful outcome evaluation. They have overcome many practical and conceptual challenges, like reconciling the outcomes of their work with those specified by funders and working out mechanisms for staff to systematically reflect on practice.
We are proud to share their great work and learning though our Evaluation Stories webinars. These hour-long webinars allow our clients to go into great depth about their practice and learning.