summit 2017 logo

November 2-3 | Washington DC

This November, the third annual Feedback Summit will focus on the power of connections. We’ll be sharing experiences, knowledge, and skills by exploring feedback loops as tools for responsiveness, accountability, and amplifying impact. As a feedback-focused community, we believe the people know what’s best for them, and that programs and policies should follow their lead in setting priorities and evaluating impact. 


At Feedback Summit 2017, we celebrate and interrogate the immense power of constituent-driven feedback loops, and the powerful connections between constituents and other stakeholders that drive forward progress and improvement. Whether it’s collaboration at the organization level, between datasets, or among individuals, we believe that now is the time to learn how organizations can unleash the power of constituent feedback by supporting constituent connection, radically rethinking how constituent voice is utilized – or maybe even by getting out of the way entirely.


We can amplify the success of our sector and the number of closed feedback loops through these strong connections. Now is the time to reimagine how constituent voice functions within and around our sector. 

Thursday, November 2

  • 8:30 – 9:00am Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 9:30am Welcome, Frame and Overview of Summit
  • 9:30 – 9:45am Lightning Interview
  • 9:45 – 10:00am Networking Break
  • 10:00 – 11:00am Sessions
  • Under what conditions is information empowering?
  • Local Media: How citizen feedback drives the news
  • NYC: Feedback-driven Services
  • 11:15 – 12:15pm Plenary: The Future of Feedback-driven Philanthropy
  • 12:15 – 1:15pm Lunch
  • 1:30 – 2:30pm Sessions
  • Responsible Data Use
  • Rumor has it: feedback in humanitarian settings and its utility
  • Designing for Feedback: Using youth voice to improve impact
  • 2:30 – 3:00pm Networking Break
  • 3:00 – 4:00pm Sessions
  • Constituent-driven Grantmaking
  • M&E&F: The Three Legged Stool
  • 4:15 – 5:15pm Plenary: Facing Feedback Head On: Exploring the emotional dynamics of giving and getting feedback
  • 5:15 – 5:30pm Close and Evaluate Day 1
  • 5:30 – 7:00pm Reception

Lifting and Sustaining the Community Voice

The session will include a description of the feedback loop process, the role of Habitat for Humanity staff and other coalition partners and the criteria for evaluating results. Presenters will draw from their experiences working in these communities to explore the effectiveness of the technology (including low-tech options), highlight place-based solutions in integrating feedback loops and share how this method advanced community development efforts. Two indicators that demonstrate that the process is driving community decision-making and revitalization efforts include the increased level of resident engagement and number of residents volunteering to lead projects. The increased transparency in community conversations is signaling a different relationship between community residents and the coalition partners.
Melissa Rivera (Habitat for Humanity International), Karimah Nonyameko (Habitat for Humanity International), Carolyn Valli (Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity), Linda Kelly (Pittsfield),
Kelly Cox (Neighborhood Revitalization, Habitat for Humanity International)

Beyond Feedback: What makes an institution responsive and adaptive?

This lively roundtable session will take a deeper look at the conditions, attitudes and operational environments necessary for feedback to transform into effective response and change. Duncan Edwards from Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Making All Voices Count will discuss research from the past 4.5 years on government responsiveness to citizen feedback on public services; Kecia Bertermann of Girl Effect will share how teams are adjusting and adapting to adolescent girls’ passive and active feedback on a behavior change-focused web/mobile platform; and Danielle de Garcia of Social Impact will talk about how to assess adaptive capacity prior to embarking on an exercise that includes real-time data and how to present data to support adaptive responses. The session will be a participatory round table discussion, facilitated by Linda Raftree, Independent Consultant and co-founder of MERL Tech and Technology Salon.
Duncan Edwards (Institute of Development Studies and Making All Voices Count), Kecia Bertermann (Girl Effect), Danielle de Garcia (Social Impact), Linda Raftree (MERL Tech and Technology Salon)

Putting the Decision-Maker at the Center of Data-Driven Development

Human-centered design, leave no one behind, collaboration, learning, and adaptation — these days, the rhetoric of international development puts the “people” back in programming.

But what does it really look like, to put a feedback-driven approach into practice — and can we use this to make smarter decisions about data and technology?

Join Development Gateway in a hands-on, role-based workshop. During this session, participants will take a PDIA (problem-driven, iterative, adaptive) approach to solving some of their key challenges. Topics will include:

  • an overview of PDIA methodology
  • participant-driven problem identification
  • small group solution co-design
  • guided break-out about how best to bring in citizen-generated data
  • share-out of lessons learned

Vinisha Bhatia-Murdach (Development Gateway), Sarah Orton-Vipond (Development Gateway), Paige Kirby (Development Gateway)

An Ear for High Performance

The Performance Imperative (PI), collaboratively developed by the Leap Ambassadors Community, defines high performance in social- and public-sector organizations, and outlines seven organizational pillars needed to produce meaningful and sustainable results for the people or causes an organization exists to serve. It is a framework to guide organizational improvement strategies, yet the first version of the PI didn’t fully articulate the importance of listening and responding to constituents’ voices to achieve high performance. Join us to learn about—and provide feedback on—the rationale and changes made in a new version of the PI that attempts to crystallize how listening to those you serve strengthens your entire organization—leadership, management, programs, culture, and continuous improvement.
Margot Rogers (Leap Ambassadors), Invgild (Leap Ambassadors), Mario Morino (Leap Ambassadors), Brad Dudding (Center for Employment Opportunities), David Bonbright (Keystone Accountability)

Unleasing the Power of Interoperable Data

Many of us collect feedback from the people we seek to serve. How can we make it more powerful and useful by combining it with feedback other organizations receive? This session will explore how connecting datasets from different organizations can lead to more powerful interactions with our shared constituents. We will discuss the barriers to such data interoperability and how they might be overcome.
Marc Maxmeister (Keystone Accountability), Nick Hamlin (Global Giving), Alexis Smart (Root Change),

Amplify Voices, Build Understanding & Collaborate: the ABC’s of people-centered evaluation strategies to close the feedback loop

In this interactive panel discussion, two organizations from the Movement for Community-Led Development, The Hunger Project and OneVillage Partners will be joined by Minnesota-based international evaluation and strategic consulting firm, The Improve Group, to discuss and share innovative and participatory monitoring and evaluation strategies to close the feedback loop. Not only applicable in the community-led context, these tools and lessons will build your knowledge and skillset in your own work as an evaluator, practitioner or funder.

The Hunger Project and OneVillage Partners will share their tested methods directly from their work all over the world. Learn how community-results sharing and visual statistics can increase the caliber of feedback generated directly from your target audience. Get to know participatory methods like Most Significant Change, Consensus Building, Community Data Presentations, and others. Join us as we present on participatory strategies and engage you in an interactive simulation on using these methods to close the loop.

Sophie Dresser (OneVillage Partners), Marissa Strniste (The Hunger Project), Jill Lipski Cain (The Improve Group)

The Art of Honoring Voice: How to Close the Loop through Dialogue and Use of Feedback Data

Join this interactive session to enhance the dialogue phase of your feedback loop. Learn how The James Irvine Foundation and NeighborWorks America conducted intentional, large scale processes that ensured community residents’ voices were elicited through feedback and that data was effectively shared and used. The James Irvine Foundation’s California Voices project used a multi-channel, human centered design process to gain a deeper understanding of the hopes, fears, challenges, and dreams of Californians who are working, but still struggling to make ends meet. Their voices helped to inform Irvine’s new strategic focus and enabled the foundation to turn the insights into rich, actionable data. Committed to share its learning, Irvine created an interactive website ( that honored the voices of participating communities. NeighborWorks America uses Success Measures data tools and participatory processes to support its network of 240 community development organizations gather feedback from communities served. In one project, over 170 nonprofits gathered feedback on residents’ satisfaction with neighborhood quality of life and other issues. Organizations shared data to inform action steps, which increased engagement and fostered strategies that fueled residents’ confidence in their capacity to bring about positive community change. You’ll have a chance to shape the session by sharing how you are dealing with, or hope to tackle, the critical dialogue phase.
Kelley D. Gulley (The James Irvine Foundation), Brooke Finn (NeighborWorks Services Group at NeighborWorks America), Maggie Grieve (Success Measures, NeighborWorks America)

Acting on Feedback: Why is organizational change so freakin’ hard? (And what can we do about it?)

It’s challenging to get hyper-busy colleagues and overstretched organizations to fully embrace and act on your systems for generating feedback. Designing and implementing lasting change in most organizations is difficult, no matter how good the supporting evidence. “Closing the loop” often requires first engaging with a whole new set of “customers” — your colleagues, program staff, and senior leadership. Both Technoserve and the Mozilla Foundation have wrestled with this challenge after investing heavily in systems to collect stakeholder feedback. Technoserve has spent five years developing its Corporate Measurement Program, which operates at a portfolio level to gather quantitative data across 29 countries. In 2016, Mozilla launched StoryEngine, a deep listening and storytelling initiative that surfaces insights around challenges and opportunities. The maturity, methodology, and scope of these two efforts differ, but they share a common lesson: stakeholder engagement is critical. How you address issues around organizational culture, information overload, and decision-making are critically important. In this session, you’ll get a hands-on opportunity to hack on this challenge. We’ll share experiences and use a human-centered approach to spark dialogue and develop a practical framework for both leaders and practitioners.
James Tinker (TechnoServe), Christine Prefontaine (Loup.Design), Matt Thompson (Loup.Design)

Data Interoperability: The Human Edition

Many of us collect feedback from the people we seek to serve. How can we make it more powerful and useful by combining it with feedback other organizations receive? This session will explore how connecting datasets from different organizations can lead to more powerful interactions with our shared constituents. We will discuss the barriers to such data interoperability and how they might be overcome.
Duncan Edwards (Institute of Development Studies and Making All Voices Count), Kecia Bertermann (Girl Effect), Danielle de Garcia (Social Impact), Linda Raftree (MERL Tech and Technology Salon)
Marc Maxmeister (Keystone Accountability), Nick Hamlin (Global Giving)

Cities are carrying the open government torch: The inaugural year of the Open Government Partnership Subnational Program

Are cities the new leaders in open government and public participation? What can be learned by going granular? In 2016, fifteen subnational governments–cities, counties, provinces–co-created open government commitments as part of a Subnational Pilot Program of the Open Government Partnership, focusing on tackling inequality, improving public services, and innovating in participatory processes. In 2017, the subnationals implemented their commitments. In this panel, we will explore what emerging patterns and trends the Open Government Partnership sees at the subnational level and which may be transferable or scalable. We will hear from subnational pilot city, Austin, TX, and their efforts to embody the open government principles of accountability, transparency, civic participation, and technology innovation through the development of new tools and services to support commitment teams’ work as well as others interested in governing or administering programs openly. The audience will be invited to discuss their perspectives on local level governments’ emerging role, test some open government tools, and share ideas and opportunities for the Open Government Partnership to consider as the Subnational Program evolves.
Angela Hanson (City of Austin, TX), Brittany Giroux Lane (Open Government Partnership)


Friday, November 3

  • 8:30 – 9:00am Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 9:35am Welcome
  • 9:35 – 9:50am Lightning Interview
  • 9:50 – 10:15am Networking Break
  • 10:15 – 11:15am Sessions
  • Blockchain and Buzzkill
  • What Works (in) Cities
  • Utilizing systems-thinking to better grapple with power differentials
  • CLA: Feedback and Unlocking Internal Reform
  • 11:30 – 12:00pm Lightning Interview
  • 12:00 – 12:30pm Lunch
  • 12:30 – 1:30pm Plenary: There’s Something in the Zeitgeist: What’s on the horizon for feedback?
  • 1:45 – 2:45pm Sessions/ Unconference
  • Adapting to Adaptive Management
  • Lean Data
  • Impact Investing
  • Data Law
  • 3:00 – 4:00pm Face-off Finale
  • 4:00 – 4:30pm Summary, Close and Evaluate

Flipping feedback to feedforward: putting decision making and resources in the hands of the end user

Many of the discussions in the Summit are about shifting the power into the hands of end-users, but how can funders and implementers put these ideas into action? This workshop will provide examples of feedforward in practice, as well as a tool for analyzing how to make your work more ‘feedforward.’

Tris Lumley (New Philanthropy Capital), Chloe Tomlinson (Spark MicroGrants)

Government, Consult Thyself: The Case for a Feedback Culture from Within

For government staff who are expected to reliably steward our institutions without failure or interruption, asking for external feedback can feel like bracing for a public flogging instead of walking down the enlightened path of greater understanding. Internalizing any new practice is difficult without trusted allies, exposure and an experience that proves its value.
The first step in building a culture of feedback in any organization is demonstrating its value through lived experience. This session includes case studies, lessons learned, and practical tips for gaining acceptance of new practices and closing feedback loops by first applying practices internally. Panelists will share their experiences building internal feedback cultures within local government and federal agencies around the introduction of new practices like experience design, narrative research and agile development when building and buying technology. They will share what makes this work difficult, how they built trust on teams, and how developing new inward practices paved the way for the appreciation of feedback as a useful tool when engaging with the public and government service users.
Matt Bailey (White House Office of Management and Budget), Lane Becker (18F), Angela Hanson (City of Austin, TX)

This year we invite you to engage with the agenda, provide feedback, and collaborate with fellow attendees on our event app hosted by Whova. Stay tuned for more information!


Highlights: Summit 2016


Being part of the Feedback Summits in the US and UK was a high point of my year, professionally.

Tris Lumley, New Philanthropy Capital

We’re responding to your feedback at this year’s Summit.


Our NPS surveys always leave space for verbatim feedback – and we take those words seriously! See below for how we’re planning to act on feedback this year. Read more and follow our progress here.

You Said:

This Year We Will:

“The content varied widely (which I really appreciated) [but] the topics were more advanced than I am in my journey on this topic.”

“As an organization that is newer to collecting feedback, it was interesting but a bit over my head.”

Host the inaugural 1-day crash course to equip newcomers with the knowledge, skills, and tools to close the feedback loop and provide veterans with the opportunity to brush up on the feedback terminology, concepts, and methodology. Learn more and register here!

“I found sessions to be quite uneven – some were highly engaging while others had little to do with feedback and were far more focused on the international aid community.”

Increase the number of domestic-focused sessions. It’s important to us that we make closing feedback loops accessible to all attendees, which is why we’re encouraging speakers and participants to imagine how their tips, tricks, principles, and failures are useful to those who work in different contexts from themselves.

“There were some valuable sessions, but I thought there could have been more attention to what “feedback” is, especially “smart” or valuable feedback.”

“There could have been more on the value of open-ended listening as a form of feedback.”

Dedicate time and space for “unconferenced” sessions. Feedback Summit attendees are eager to ask for, and offer advice. This desire to learn from each other sets the feedback community apart, and we want to support that. Our attendees will listen to each other and determine how that space can be used.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Feedback Labs believes that regular people – whether we call them beneficiaries, constituents, or citizens – should be driving the policies and programs that affect them. The Feedback Summit is a two-day, engaging event that brings together practitioners and experts in aid, development, and governance to interrogate the concept of feedback as the right, smart, and feasible thing to bring about improvements in these fields.

The Feedback Summit uniquely positions you to participate in the changing face of development. The summit provides an increasingly rare opportunity for cross-sector communication and deep engagement in moving the needle forward. Last year, the 150 attendees pulled from 60+ organizations including places like the World Bank, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, Mercy Corps, City of Austin Texas, and Brookings Institution.

This year we need your help to bring leaders from international governments, domestic non-profits, and global foundations to further enhance the quality and diverse commitments of our community. Contact Meg at to be an integral part of using feedback to create responsive, democratic, and accountable governance.

Summit 2017 Location

We’ll be hosting the Feedback Summit at the
Partnership for Public Service:

1100 New York Ave, NW,
Washington, DC 20005


Getting to the Summit

Metro Center: use the 12th & G Streets exit. At the top of the escalators, turn right to walk north on 12th Street. Cross H Street and turn right on New York Avenue NW. The entrance to 1100 New York Avenue NW is on your right. Use the East elevators to reach the Partnership for Public Service on the 2nd floor.

Gallery Places/Chinatown: exit at 9th and G Streets/National Portrait Gallery. Walk west on G Street for two blocks. Turn right on 11th Street and walk one block. The entrance to 1100 New York Avenue NW is on your right. Use the East elevators to reach the Partnership for Public Service on the 2nd floor.

Parking: If you are driving, there is a parking garage below the conference building, accessible from 12th Street just past H Street. Parking is approximately $20 a day in the cash-only garage. The parking garage opens at 7 a.m.