Interactive Impact Labs

What is Narrative Evaluation?

“All of this information is great, but what does it all mean?”

What if the reporting world had:
  • Fewer pages within deliverables
  • Greater curation
  • Storytelling that the public could understand
  • Collective sense-making..?

Our definition:

A form of inquiry that relies on various forms of storytelling to unpack and link organizational efforts and investments with results, outcomes, and impact.

Its added value:

Integrates evaluation, learning, and strategy & organizational development.

Facilitates meaning-making to inform program planning, decision-making, and strategy.
Can work alongside and enhance current evaluation efforts.

ii Labs further optimizes it:

We use data-driven, digital, and interactive storytelling.

We can provide spatial analysis (GIS), visualizations, and journalistic methods to develop and vet narratives.

We engage & iterate with stakeholders to identify the heart of the story ···

··· and make meaning that inspires next steps.

Here’s just one example:

Typical quantitative insight

gleaned from prior evaluation reports:

“From 2010-2020, our grantees advocated for and contributed to the development of over 25+ statewide policies to support the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California.”

Though an impressive fact, it's not enough to help inform strategy, future investments, or decision-making.
ii Labs asks deeper questions:

  • So what? To what end? What’s the impact?
  • Which policies? Are they all equal? 
  • What’s the story behind this?
  • What was their role?  How did they contribute?
  • What does this mean in the scheme of health equity?    

Further research

  • 1:1 interviews
  • news media searches
  • key decision-makers engaged on the storyline
Policy was only one part of a bigger story, a story of a BIG PAYOFF

A story about ACA’s implementation in California:

The Foundation made a “big bet”: invested $100M of its corpus in implementation ($225M+ in total).

That bore results:

  • 78% increase in Medicaid enrollment; 
  • Uninsured rate fell from 17% to 7%; 
  • New policies closed Federal loopholes negatively impacting payers;
  • California became a “national model” for expanding coverage;  
  • Paved way for expanding coverage to undocumented children and young adults.


Another way to frame the big picture

Tell us how
we can help: