Logic Models for the Washington State Arts Commission Creative Forces Summit II


Earlier this month, InformEd facilitated a capacity building workshop sponsored by the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) during their Creative Forces Summit II. Over 20 organizations were present at the Summit where we led a series of activities that culminated in logic models for arts programs providing services to military and veteran populations.

As M&E consultants, we typically facilitate workshops like this with a single organization, working with all relevant stakeholders for the organization over several days to develop a Theory of Change and corresponding logic model or framework. While they shared similar objectives, each program represented at the Summit was unique in the medium of art and/or delivery method of programming, so we made a number of adjustments to our training framework to ensure each organization left the Summit with a complete logic model. In the end, we found the following elements were essential for this type of training.

1.     Spend a significant amount of time on essential logic model components so participants can adapt their logic model at a later date, if necessary.

Completing the Logical Bridge Game

Completing the Logical Bridge Game

In order to facilitate logic model development at this level, we chose to focus half of the allotted time on establishing the basics through participatory methods. We knew relevant stakeholders from some organizations may not have been present, and we didn’t have time to work one-on-one with every organization in the room. Because of these limitations, it was most important that participants walked away from the Summit with the ability to facilitate a logic model refinement process with their teams, if needed.

Through a series of activities, we showed that logic modeling is, at its most basic, a way of thinking used to solve problems. For an organization, a logic model is a means through which the story of an intervention is told, outlining the stages required to meet objectives. Participants built a bridge[1] from straws, string, and tape to demonstrate how inputs and activities come together to produce outputs and outcomes. Invented program vignettes were used to group participants according to the art medium used by their organization in order to draft a logic model for a program similar to their own, fostering collaboration between organizations doing similar work. Finally, we ended by tying logic model thinking to an everyday activity: baking cookies.[2] Participants expressed a sense of accomplishment as they were able to accurately identify the inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes in the process and celebrated this success by enjoying some cookies (an outcome, not an output)!

2.     Drive home the purpose of a logic model is for organizational program management and improvement, not solely for donors.

Something that struck me throughout the Summit was how many participants believed they were creating a logic model solely to share with donors, not for their own organizational management and program improvement. Despite feeling like a broken record saying this from the front of the room, we discovered time and again it was critical to make this point personal and relevant to each organization.

One participant suggested she would need to adjust context-specific language in her logic model so that it spoke to donors. I told her that would be fine for that specific purpose but that her organizational logic model should speak to her, the participants, and the work she does for the benefit of the organization. A smile spread across her face when it ‘clicked’ that this was a practical step she could take toward managing her program, proving its effectiveness, and making adjustments to the curriculum as needed.

3.     Be open to adjustment of workshop content depending on needs of participants.

We were fortunate to have two consultants facilitating this workshop (something I strongly recommend anytime you lead a training!), which was especially beneficial when we decided to make adjustments to our plans for the second day of training. Prior to the workshop, participants used a workbook created by InformEd to draft a logic model. After day 1, both through observation and direct reflection from participants, it became clear that we needed to: work as a group to define common outcomes; and then focus on measurement approaches for those outcomes. Through a mapping activity and group discussion, we were able to identify 3 common outcomes, unique to the military and veteran population, which all organizations were working toward. Then we were able to help organizations begin to think through what measurement approaches and tools would work for them, given their specific program design.

[1] Chaplowe, S.G. & Cousins, J.B. 2016. Monitoring and Evaluation Training: A Systematic Approach.

[2] University of Wisconsin. 2008. Developing a Logic Model: Teaching and Training Guide.