305: Dashboards and Scorecards: Simple Ways to Improve Communication and Align Effort and Impact…Right?


Daniel Hayden, Rare Conservation
Richard Margoluis, Foundations of Success


Deconstructing “Dashboards”: Do They Work? (Richard Margoluis, Foundations of Success)

Many organizations, agencies, and foundations have recently moved towards using “dashboards” as a way to assess the extent to which their work is having any impact.  A dashboard is a user interface that, somewhat resembling an automobile’s dashboard, organizes and presents information in a way that is easy to read. In particular, it is a tool for displaying complex sets of indicators in a user-friendly format.  On the surface, dashboards seem quite straightforward and easy to do. All you need to do is decide what indicators you wish to follow, organize them in a logical and meaningful manner, collect the appropriate data, and presto, you have your dashboard. In reality, constructing an accurate and useful dashboard is an infinitely more complex task.   This session shares the results of a recent evaluation conducted by Foundation of Success.  We were asked to examine the dashboard of a major conservation foundation, deconstruct it, and make recommendations for the future.  We analyzed the utility, feasibility, and availability of each indicator of the dashboard in order to better understand the conditions under which dashboards work – and don’t.

Creating Alignment and Simplifying Decisions through the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) Method (Daniel Hayden, Rare Conservation)

Organizations have competing demands on their resources and competing priorities.  Is it better to work in places where you know you have been successful or places in the most need?  Do we invest in people or fundraising?  These questions can either pull an organization apart or bring about a unifying organizational strategy.  One approach is to build a framework called the Balanced Scorecard that makes explicit these tradeoffs and helps guide decision making.    Rare, www.rareconservation.org, uses the balanced scorecard method to drive alignment between central and regions, and is in the process of driving integration to the project level and staff level.  This session will discuss how Rare built its Balanced Scorecard, how it use the Scorecard and how it has enhanced organizational alignment. We will also discuss processes to build a case for the Balanced Scorecard and bring about internal alignment necessary for you to develop one for your organization.

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