Academic references to outcomes theory
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In any outcomes discussion, the full set of potential outcomes should always be formally represented. This is in contrast to only formally representing currently measured outcomes and leaving discussion of non-measured outcomes to more informal, peripheral, discussion. Always working with a visual outcomes model provides for such complete representation.
To ensure you have a comprehensive discussion of a project, program or policy’s outcomes you need to have some way of formally representing all outcomes, whether measurable or not. If you do not have this, the artifacts associated with measurement - Key Performance Indicator lists, tables, dashboards, graphs of results, tend to dominate strategic discussions. While there is usually some discussion of non-measured outcomes this is often informal, periferal and transitory if there is no formal representation of non-measured outcomes.
Visual outcomes models, drawn according to the set of outcomes model drawing rules, provide a comprehensive visual representation of all outcomes, measurable or not. If such a model is used in all outcomes discussions, it ensures that there is a formal representation of the non-measured and a more comprehensive strategic discussion, including the often unknown risk arising from the fact that some outcomes are current unmeasured.