Why plan and use a logic model for project development? It helps us science the sh-t out of urgently needed solutions.
“TERMS OF SURVIVAL” SERIES
This twenty-part series introduces you to twenty key terms used in a local mobilizing process that you and your community will require to survive and thrive during colliding crises. The articles will reference the three-headed hydra of apathy, envy and fear, those people in positions of power who are fighting to keep a broken status quo.
Concept 14: logic model
Imagine you determine, amid a pandemic, that increasing access to health care could be done quite efficiently by turning your public school into a fully-resourced community school with school-based medical and mental health care for students and their families.
This is a big project, and instead of guessing your way through the development process, you can create a plan to share with all community and school stakeholders for buy-in.
One key planning tool we use to design projects, focused on increasing access to ten vital services for surviving and thriving (including community schools), is a logic model. This is a one-page document with a visual representation of a plan to guide a project that includes the project’s hypothesis, goal, purpose, inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes.
Can we be logical about this? Absolutely!
The more carefully thought out a plan, the better chance for conducting a successful local innovation. And the more detailed the logic model can be — as a good map with clear paths — the better chance of getting buy-in for projects, as well as having a shared vision, goals and objectives. Take a look at our 100% Community initiative logic model components (you can find the graphic representation in the book’s appendices). The entire logic model fits on one sheet of paper, easily emailed to every county stakeholder. Not only is the logic model used to guide the entire initiative, it’s used by action team leaders to develop each of their projects.
There are many ways to design a logic model, with a variety of sections. We use the following format:
- Hypothesis (the research-based assumption guiding the project)
- Evaluation (focused on measuring the impact of each activity)
- Short-term outcomes
- Intermediate-term outcomes
- Long-term outcomes
Let’s take a look at each of the components of a logic model. In this example, let us imagine you wish to launch a county coalition dedicated to ensuring ten vital services for surviving and thriving for all residents.
If we provide to all county residents the ten vital services for surviving and thriving, we increase their capacity for good health and positive outcomes from birth to work to retirement, including school achievement, job readiness, and self-sufficiency.
Build the capacity of each community within a county’s borders to create a seamless and networked countywide system of care, safety, emergency preparedness and education for 100% of residents. Ensure that each community has the resources and structure for emergency management.
Educate elected leaders and stakeholders on the need for and benefits of ensuring that all residents have access to the ten services for surviving and thriving. Develop a hub for competency-based online learning for county leaders in ten vital surviving and thriving service sectors. Use continuous quality improvement (CQI — Assess, Plan, Act, Evaluate) to improve quality of and access to ten vital services shown to strengthen families. Finally, evaluate progress.
- State lawmakers who serve the county
- Mayors, council members and city managers
- County commissioners and county managers
- School board members and school superintendents
- University and college presidents and leadership based in the county
- Leadership from agencies in the ten surviving and thriving service sectors: behavioral health care, medical/dental care, transportation, housing, food security, parent supports, early childhood learning, youth mentors, family-centered schools, job training and placement
- Experts in continuous quality improvement, collective impact and adaptive leadership
- Emergency management specialists
- Economic development experts and social entrepreneurs
- Historians and historical trauma experts
- Information technology and infrastructure
- 100% Community developers
- Community stakeholders of all ages
- Data systems
(Each of these activities is measurable.)
- Identify co-organizers and ten action team leaders to use collective impact model to guide initiative
- Support ongoing surveying of county’s families and community members to assess gaps in ten service areas
- Recruit action team members from ten sectors.
- Facilitate 100% Community course for all initiative participants, with 100% Community as course textbook
- Implement local innovations and projects to address gaps in services in ten sectors
- Create a task force on history and cultures to educate public about root causes of health disparities, trauma and social adversity
- Track all innovations and projects and share measurable progress with all residents
- Create public and private partnerships to support innovations
- Create economic base to institutionalize work in each county
- Measure satisfaction and user experience of those taking course and engaging with the initiative
- Measure changes in knowledge and behaviors among initiative participants related to their understanding of CQI, data-driven work, and reaching goal of ten sectors accessible to 100% of residents
- Measure changes in agency leadership and increased use of CQI, collective impact and adaptive leadership
- Track alignment of the initiative with current local work
- Measure increases in quality of services and accessibility to services (in each of the ten sectors)
- Track the increase of public awareness of root causes of health disparities, trauma and social adversity
- Track increase in effective use of technology to increase agency user-friendliness and accessibility
- Track increases in buy-in from elected leaders related to serving 100% of residents within the ten sectors
(In normal times, these activities could take a year. In times of crisis, we need to respond rapidly to establish governance, communication and awareness of gaps in services.)
- Establish effective and transparent governance of 100% Community initiative with governmental or non-governmental organizations, securing evaluation processes.
- Increase knowledge and skills of 100% Community initiative participants (government/agency leaders) to:
- Use data to identify local challenges in ten sectors
- Mine (dig deep) and analyze data
- Assess agency workflow challenges and successes
- Research evidence-based or evidence-informed solutions
- Implement continuous quality improvement (CQI) to improve services
- Increase use of CQI, Collective Impact and Adaptive Leadership among agency leadership
- Improve communication between elected officials on the state, city, county, school board, and tribal levels and their staff
- Increase awareness of gaps in vital services
- Increase use of structured innovations to address gaps in services with measurable activities
- Increase knowledge of the root causes of health challenges, health disparities, trauma and social adversity among public and leaders
(Under normal circumstances, these activities could take 2–4 years. During a crisis, we need to respond rapidly to increase access to vital services.)
- Increased access to ten vital surviving and thriving services
- Increased local funding of programs and services related to preventing health disparities and social adversity
- Increased leadership awareness of social costs of lack of access to ten vital services, health disparities, trauma and social adversity
- Agencies in ten sectors have data-driven plan to serve 100% of residents
(Depending on the level of urgency, and commitment to funding from heroic leaders, the timeline could be measured in months or years.)
- Increase access for all county residents to ten surviving and thriving services
- Increased school/college attendance, performance and graduation; increased job readiness
- Increased accessibility of vital services
- Increased use of technology to strengthen access to ten services
- 100% Community initiative institutionalized within local government
- Increased public/private partnerships ensuring 100% of residents have access to the ten vital services for surviving and thriving
A million reasons to use a logic model. Here’s ours.
A logic model helps 100% Community initiative action teams (and partners who include elected city, county and state leaders) focus on each projected outcome they want to achieve with a project.Their desired outcomes are a direct result of their activities, mapped out in the process of designing a logic model with colleagues. Logic models work best when they clearly illustrate (in graphics and text) what the 100% Community initiative (as a whole) and each action team is trying to accomplish. For example, increasing timely access to medical care.
Planning quickly yet calmly in times of crisis
There’s a funny scene from the movie The Martian in which an astronaut stranded on Mars and facing death says, “So, in the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option: I’m going to have to science the sh*t out of this.” That is where many of us may find ourselves as we plan to address a public health crisis. And yes, with focused research, the astronaut survives. Similarly, using the frameworks of continuous quality improvement and collective impact, we can science our way to a collective vision of 100% access to ten vital services. Logic models can serve as the map we use to get there.
See 100% Community, Chapter 38: The Logic of the 100% Community
The future is what we make it. Join the evolution.
Please excuse any typos as I construct an article at 3am on only one cup of Joe. These stories are mine and mine alone. I do not represent any organization here. If one of my illustrations looks like a real human or three-headed hydra, that’s total coincidence. Words and images ©Dominic Cappello but share with everyone you know. Questions? Answers await you here: www.tenvitalservices.org