Guidance on creating clear and measurable outcomes

Tool | Step 4 | View All Steps

To inform the strategic planning process, it is helpful to have alignment on a community’s target outcomes. Below are a set of guiding questions to develop this alignment.

Guiding Questions:

Who is Target Population? (i.e. who will participate or directly benefit): Examples may include:

  1. Business Entrepreneurs/Social Innovators/Neighborhood Change-Makers
  2. Entrepreneurs and Local Leaders from Low Income Communities, and Communities of Color
  3. Young Community Leaders/Entrepreneurs who Represent the Next Generation of Problem Solvers in cities, and their surrounding areas
  4. Others that Can Accelerate/Implement the Impact of Entrepreneurial Ideas/Best Practices

What are target outcomes? Some outcomes may include:

  • Increased awareness, engagement, and subsequent social capital, among emerging entrepreneurs/leaders and local citizens as they gain the confidence and competence to work with others in order to drive change in their own neighborhoods/communities and the world;
  • Increased entrepreneurial activity resulting from the enhanced capacities and connections;
  • More business and social entrepreneurs coming from, and working in, low income communities, and communities of color, in each of the cities.
  • Increased private and public financial investment in the emerging entrepreneurial economy;
  • Increased livable wage jobs and economic growth in diverse sectors;
  • Measurable social impact in neighborhoods/communities/cities – such as increased access to health care, improved high school graduation rates, decreased poverty rates, etc. – that is driven by local entrepreneurial activity.

Additionally, through this work, city leaders and local entrepreneurs will discover dynamic ways to collaborate and grow the power of the network. If the priority is to grow locally owned ventures – with a focus on minority owned enterprises – that have strong growth potential and can grow local employment opportunities and help strengthen certain neighborhoods or build up under-developed commercial corridors, then your city will also need to work in a coordinated way to increase the connection of these local entrepreneurs and small business owners to critical support resources such as:

  • Access to capital (equity, debt and grants)
  • Access to qualified talent
  • Technical assistance from entrepreneurial enabling organizations,
  • Productive relationships with potential corporate/ strategic partners,
  • New sales channels including local/national procurement potential
  • Support at the city level

Emerging indicators may include:

  • Number of enterprises in a designated neighborhood or corridor
  • Percent of enterprises that are locally owned
  • Percent of enterprises that are minority owned
  • Types of enterprises that are in the community
  • Number of vacant commercial spaces (or blighted properties)
  • Local ownership of commercial and/or residential spaces
  • Investment activity (equity and debt)
  • Level of public investment and infrastructure improvement
  • Number and quality (full-time vs. part-time; benefits; livable wage) of jobs being created by local enterprises
  • Percent of jobs being filled by local talent

Additionally, there may be a stated interest in also looking at broader indicators of economic and community health in these neighborhoods including:

  • Community safety
  • Neighborhood per capita income
  • Education attainment
  • Job readiness and opportunities for ex-offenders

Using these example outcomes and indicators, it is incumbent that each community develop their own metrics of success as it develops alignment on a set of target outcomes and strategies to make progress against these outcomes (see guiding questions for the strategic planning process). This can be informed by national research and Forward Cities strives to keep building out resources for cities to measure and track their progress against inclusive innovation and economic development.

Get Updates As They Happen