WeRobotics became operational in 2016. The first 18 months of operations were dedicated to field testing the Flying Labs framework across 3 continents. This was followed by rapid growth, which continues to this day. What is the impact of this growth? Our impact metrics during the first 18 months of field testing were necessarily tied to individual grants. This gave us valuable insights on which parameters were more effective at measuring our impact and which metrics were missing. These insights also led us to an important conclusion: our monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework needed a significant upgrade.
This explains why we partnered with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) after completing our field testing phase in 2018. Thanks to SIPA’s program on Economic and Political Development in Practice (EPD), we had the opportunity to work with outstanding faculty and top-notch graduate students over 6 full months. This work included field research at multiple Flying Labs, numerous consultations with practitioners, and a thorough review of lessons learned and best practices in impact evaluation. The highly engaged team at SIPA concluded their research in May 2019 when they delivered a fully revised M&E framework for us to implement.
We’ve spent the past 6 months implementing this framework. This entailed setting up the reporting structure with Flying Labs to accurately quantify the impact metrics. We’re excited to have just completed this vital work and invite you to check out our new impact page here! We’ll be updating this page continuously and also adding new metrics along the way. For example, we want to add the total dollar value of contracts and grants projects that have gone to local experts instead of foreign experts. So stay tuned for more!
Having these new instruments is like having an entirely new cockpit at our disposal, which is already enabling us to set the right course as we prepare to fly into 2020. Onwards and upwards!