Since 2017, DA has been supporting five cities in Latin America to develop and sustain urban innovative projects in a range of sectors:
Our support has focused on helping the teams build skills to define performance indicators and targets, prioritize actions, solve problems early, and drive results. In 2019, after two years of design and implementation, measuring progress of the urban innovations turned out to be a key component in guaranteeing the project's sustainability and effective use of public resources. DA helped the cities design quantitative analyses (developed by independent evaluators) to assess the outcomes of each project.
Since the projects are innovative, there was by definition a lack of previous data and evidence regarding their impact. Initially, the city teams relied on users' perceptions and small-scale data collected in the field to improve design and solve implementation challenges.
However, a more robust evaluation was needed to answer key questions related to projects' effectiveness and user outcomes, and provide compelling evidence in favor of the long-term sustainability of these projects.
We worked closely with the city teams to design practical evaluations to quantify early outcomes within each project and inform decision-making. By leveraging the expertise of local partners to execute the evaluation, we were able to focus on designing the evaluation strategy, recommending the best evaluation method, supporting operationalization in the field, and converting results into actionable recommendations.
We have considered local context, timing, and specific research questions for each project to propose a suitable quantitative analysis:
These findings are like gold to us.
Quantifying the results of the innovation projects was key to identifying drivers for success and opportunities for design improvement, and building momentum and scalability of the projects in many ways:
Replication: Early testing of Guadalajara’s model allowed the city to immediately adjust its methodology and confidently expand the project. The State of Jalisco is replicating Visor Urbano in 20+ cities in Mexico.
Optimization: Bogotá was able to quickly fine-tune the walking caravans' operation and training methodology after adopting learnings from the evaluation. Walking caravans are now a permanent city service.
Scaling up: With the evaluation results, Medellín was able to guarantee resources and expand the microcredit project to reach new vulnerable groups, such as women victims of violence and farmers. The results helped increase legitimacy and political buy-in. See video here.
According to Liliana Galeano, director of Bancuadra, Secretariat of Economic Development in Medellín, "These findings are like gold to us. When we started this initiative we didn’t have that data with a good study behind it. Now, we know where to focus."
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