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Impact Assessment

Constant Evaluation of the CENTRINNO Framework
Developed by TalTech, the Impact Assessment methodological approach continuously monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of the CENTRINNO Framework in delivering the desired impact. Impact assessment is an integral part of the project's activities to evaluate impact both in CENTRINNO pilot cities and at the project level.
The main methodological approach employed for the evaluation methodology is Outcome Mapping, a planning and assessment methodology applied in projects aiming for sustainable social and structural change. Outcome mapping approaches impact through three interrelated change processes that focus on (a) outcomes, reflecting changes in behaviours, actions, and relationships of the people and organisations the project directly interacts; (b) strategies, which are employed to achieve the outcomes; and (c) organisational practices, which are necessary for the project to remain relevant throughout and after its life-cycle. Respectively, the CENTRINNO evaluation methodology employs outcome mapping to define impact in terms of:
  1. 1.
    The achievement of outcomes from the pilot cities’ activities related to the five key concepts;
  2. 2.
    the relevance of the strategies employed by the project’s technical activities to achieve the above outcomes; and
  3. 3.
    the effectiveness of the project’s approach in developing the organisational practices related to the implementation of Fab City Hubs (see the FCH ten principles).
The evaluation methodology is tightly connected with the CENTRINNO framework both conceptually and methodologically. Conceptually, impact assessment aims to provide the means to understand and evaluate city-level transformation (change) of historic industrial areas and the development of Fab City Hubs. The definition of impact following Outcome Mapping aims at demonstrating pathways for this transformation that reflect the pilot participants’ values and which they can sustain autonomously. Eventually, making sense of these outcomes, and most importantly why and how they occurred, reflects back into the interpretation of the CENTRINNO Framework and approach.

CENTRINNO Theory's of Change

In order to provide a consistent narrative about the project’s envisaged transformation, upon which the evaluation methodology aims to build, impact assessment is employing a theory of change.
A theory of change provides a clear definition of the project’s starting point, assumptions, envisaged activities and ambitions. It helps explain how the project’s planned activities contribute to the desired outcomes and, eventually, lead to observable impact. From the perspective of impact assessment, the theory of change provides the main line of narrative upon which the evaluation methodology aims to build, connecting impact with the CENTRINNO framework and approach.
In the context of CENTRINNO, instead of a typical linear model (i.e., inputs - activities - outputs - outcomes - impacts), the theory of change has been developed using a narrative-based model that is better fit for the purpose of reflecting the change process consistent with Outcome Mapping. The theory of change is composed by six building blocks:
CENTRINNO theory of change. Source: Pazaitis et al (2022)
To monitor and evaluate these processes of change, a continuous and participatory process has been designed. Pilot participants are included in the definition of the desired outcomes based on their values and local specificities. Project partners (WPs) are engaged in the definition of the strategies, including the key actions and tools offered to the pilot cities, as well as in the assessment of the organisational practices for FCHs and the relevant long-term implications. In this process, the evaluation methodology offers a common vocabulary to understand the CENTRINNO impact, and a structured process, including monitoring tools and step-by-step guides on their application, that systematise the project’s data and resources. The main outputs of the evaluation methodology will be two impact assessment reports, to be delivered during 2023. The coordination of the relevant processes is planned to synchronise with the development of the pilot sprints, defining specified checkpoints for planning and reflection.
Visualisation of the impact assessment processes. Source: Pazaitis et al (2022)
CENTRINNO's impact assessment methodology is currently being tested. Two public reports will be shared during 2023.