October 27-28 | Washington DC

Feedback Summit 2016: From Talk to Action

You’ve asked for the stories, tools, examples and connections that will help you close feedback loops in aid and philanthropy, domestically and internationally. Feedback Summit 2016 will deliver.

Join us for two days of collaboration with your fellow feedback enthusiasts. The focus is on the how to of closing feedback loops. The practice and feasibility of closing feedback loops will drive our conversations and experiential learning together.

You will leave the Summit armed and ready with the tools and knowledge you need to tackle barriers to closing feedback loops in your own work, as well as a connection to a strong community of fellow practitioners, funders, researchers and champions committed to pushing this agenda forward.

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Summit 2016 Agenda

Click each title for a description of each session and their speakers.

Thursday, October 27th

  • 8:30 – 9:00am Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 9:55am Welcome
  • 10:00 – 10:15am Snapshot: Talk to Us: CEO’s Journey to Listen and Respond to Participant Feedback Brad Dudding
  • 1:15 – 1:30pm Snapshot: Open Up: Citizen Feedback and the Move to Open Government John Maritim
  • 1:45 – 2:45pm Sessions
  • 3:00 – 4:00pm Sessions
  • 4:30 – 5:00pm Close of Day 1
  • 5:00pm Reception

Metadata Driven Feedback Loops (and Ladders)


We talk a lot about feedback loops and data, but there are ways to get feedback without actively asking for it. Instead of telling the system something, you can extract much of what you need to know, based on your own goals and using data you already have. In this example, we’re mining our gmail — to map our network engagements, to understand better where we’re investing our collaborative energy, and to figure out which key relationships are making progress on strategic engagement ladders.

We hope you can help us think about how to integrate these insights into team workflow, situate what we’re learning within broader engagement strategies, as well as how you might apply the ideas in your own contexts.

Discussants: Sierra Ramirez (Open Contracting Partnership)

Demographics, Data & Accountability: feedback loops with marginalized communities


QWOCMAP is a repository of 16 years of culturally competent data. After many years of collecting data about the marginalized communities that it serves, the organization participated in a Hewlett Foundation pilot study about demographics in Bay Area arts organizations that was conducted by consulting firm Wolfe Brown.

This session will explore the role intermediaries play in feedback loops and how perception bias impacts data collection. It illustrates successful methodologies and tools used to collect data and close the feedback loop. It will also explore the unique challenges of grassroots community-based organizations working with larger intermediaries, and the importance of cultural competence in data collection and feedback loops.

With ongoing conversations and tensions around demographic shifts in the U.S., it is important to acknowledge that a feedback loop goes beyond mere “”representation.”” Good feedback relies on accountability to the community being surveyed, which truly owns the data that has been collected about its issues, needs, and dreams. Also of issue, how is the data/feedback then used, does it solely benefit the organization conducting the survey, or does it benefit the community?

Discussants: Kebo Drew (Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project)

The Power (and Pain Points) of System-wide Feedback Loops


Feedback loops offer a powerful opportunity to deliver a shock to settled systems and create the kind of disruption that leads to increased impact. But with this growth comes growing pains. Introducing new practice into settled systems requires re-evaluation of incentives that uphold the status quo; a shift in how different actors understand their roles and expertise; a management of risk in experimentation; and a development of a new set of collaborative and analytical skills. This session explores the changes that need to be made if we are to see true system-wide feedback loops in the aid and development sector.

Discussants: David Bonbright (Keystone Accountability), Lindsay Louie (Hewlett Foundation, Fund for Shared Insight), Genevieve Maitland Hudson (Power to Change), Marsha Dickson (Better Buying)

The Dark Side of Feedback: Privacy, Vulnerability and Risk


Can collecting feedback put the vulnerable at risk? In this age of data proliferation, can we guarantee anonymity? What does the dark side of feedback look like, and how can we avoid the misuses or abuses of feedback data? Join this distinguished panel as they explore circumstances in which feedback has put vulnerable populations at risk, the challenges to avoiding those situations again, and ways in which we can mitigate the risks associated with collecting feedback data.

Discussants: Molly Elgin-Cossart (Omidyar Network), Sean McDonald (FrontlineSMS), Phil Ashlock (data.gov), Nathaniel Heller (Results for Development Institute), Megan Campbell (Feedback Labs)

Jazz Standards: The role of improvisation in reporting


This session will explore the relationship between structure and improvisation in reporting, monitoring and evaluation. You’ll hear the experience of two new UK-based foundations – Access and Power to Change – as they’ve established their programmes over the past 18 months, and we’ll explore the different personas in a reporting chain that together can make sweet impactful music.

No knowledge of Jazz required (but you’re welcome to bring a saxophone).

Discussants: Ed Anderton (Access Foundation), Gen Maitland-Hudson (Power to Change Trust)

Communicating Impact: How Do We Tell Better Feedback Stories?


All of the participating organizations at the Summit are gathering feedback and measuring their impact using different means- many of which are new and exciting. But the way in which we communicate our efforts to close feedback loops does not always match the quality of the data itself- long reports and dense statistics are still far too frequent. As a result, much useful feedback is not fully utilized and the field of feedback as a whole does not always generate the buy-in or support it deserves. At the Accountability Lab we are now collecting more and more useful data which we put out in reports, infographics and meetings- but we are trying to work out what else we can do. This LabStorm will focus specifically on how we (as an organization and as a community) can better communicate around closing feedback loops, with a focus on a variety of issues including:

• How can we improve story-telling around feedback loops- what are the stories to tell and how do we tell them?

• What tools are best used at what times to engage varied audiences around these topics (from data to stories to discussions)?

• What can we learn from/how can we collaborate with infomediaries who communicate feedback effectively?

• What new, different ways are there to collect and communicate feedback (sense-making of narratives, social media mining, media moments etc)?

Discussants: Anne Sophie Ranjbar (Accountability Lab), Anusha Yadav (Accountability Lab),Heather Gilberds (Accountability Lab)

Citizen-built Cities: How local governments are closing feedback loops


How can citizen engagement with cities move beyond reporting broken streetlights and potholes? What does it take to close the citizen feedback loop in the city context? Join innovators from Austin, New York City and Toronto to find out how they’re pushing the boundaries of citizen feedback and generating lessons that apply far beyond city limits!

Discussants: Matt Bailey (Digital Services Expert, White House Office of Management and Budget), Kerry O’Connor (Chief Innovation Officer, City of Austin), Parker Krasney (Senior Advisor, Office of the Mayor of New York City), Nadeem Mazen (City Councillor, Cambridge, MA)

How We Know It’s Worth It: Measuring ROI on closing feedback loops


Everyone says they want to close feedback loops, but few organizations consistently do it. Measuring the ROI of closing feedback loops is likely to increase uptake of the practice among both implementing organizations and their fuders. In this session, VOTO Mobile, Innovations for Poverty Action (TBC) and JHU’s Center for Communication Programs (TBC) will lead an interactive discussion on how current feedback methods (e.g., in-person, mobile-enabled, online) are being measured and potential ways to design, set up, and measure the ROI of feedback loops.

Discussants: Rebecca Weissburg (VOTO Mobile)

Is Anybody Out There? Radio, Innovation and Farmer Feedback in Tanzania


Farm Radio International has developed and tested an adaptive management/beneficiary feedback tool called “”Listening Post”” that combines farmer radio programs with a mobile phone platform to solicit ongoing, real-time feedback from beneficiaries about the impact of agricultural development projects in their communities. We are currently wrapping up a research and learning project funded as part of Making All Voices Count, which is analyzing the success of the platform, and identifying ways to improve its ability to facilitate adaptive programming by agricultural development organizations, and to close feedback loops.

During the course of research, we have found that many development actors have difficulty making use of real-time feedback from farmers in an effective way. Furthermore, farmers often don’t understand the value of giving feedback unless they see a tangible result in a short time-frame. Nonetheless, the platform enables organizations to collect real-time data from thousands of farmers dispersed over a wide geographical region in a short-time frame, thereby holding great potential for programs to continually adapt and iterate according to feedback and, as such, make them much more responsive to the communities they aim to serve.

For this LabStorm, Farm Radio International would like to get participants’ insights about how to facilitate responsiveness from actors who receive real-time data, how better to encourage partner organizations to adapt their programming based on feedback, and how to ensure that the data collected is the kind of data that can allow for responsiveness and adaptation.

Discussants: Heather Gilberds (Farm Radio International)

Responding to Clients in Every Context: Prototyping feedback response mechanisms for humanitarian agency staff


While many agencies have acknowledged the importance of beneficiary feedback and have developed feedback mechanisms, very few systematically use that feedback in their decisions. The feedback literature and our own experiences highlight several challenges. Among them is the observation that staff report being unsure how to interpret feedback coming from beneficiaries, which might be partial, contradictory, or perceived as ‘more subjective’ than quantitative monitoring data. Making sense of beneficiary data and incorporating it into decision-making general require more time and effort than most practitioners believe they can afford, especially in times of crisis.

As a part of its Responsiveness Initiative, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), along with CDA Collaborative Learning, is undertaking a research project to identify simple, effective and replicable strategies for interpreting beneficiary feedback in order to inform program decision-making by key humanitarian agency staff. The primary questions we seek to answer are:

• What factors enable feedback utilization in programmatic decision-making processes?
• What mechanisms can be best used to act upon the feedback received and close the loop?

We seek to apply lessons from behavioral sciences – which offer realistic models of human behavior – to address the challenge of acting upon feedback and closing the feedback loop. We will share initial strategies/tools that we think could be helpful. The objective of the session is to pressure test these prototypes, pulling on the varied insights and experiences of the Summit participants. We want to stretch our thinking, get feedback and identify opportunities for sustained collaboration and learning. The revised prototypes will be tested through field research in the subsequent months.

Discussants: Sheree Bennett (IRC), Chloe Whitley (IRC)


Breakouts spark interaction among participants through engagement and lively discussion. Rather than death-by-powerpoint lectures, these 1 hour sessions prompt participants to think critically about a specific aspect of closing feedback loops, provide opportunities to engage with the material presented, and leave them with new ideas or principles to try out in their own work. Preference will be given to interactive Breakouts with at least 2 collaborators.


Invite participants to become active collaborators. These 1.5 hour collaborative brainstorming sessions invite one organization (or coalition of orgs) to bring a challenge they are having in using feedback or closing a feedback loop, related to a specific project or product. LabStorm facilitators are meant to leave the LabStorm with actionable next steps and new potential collaborators; LabStorm participants will get to flex their creative muscles by drawing on their own experiences to support a fellow feedback-focused organization.

Lightning Talks

Lightning Talks are quick, 5 minute presentations that showcase a product, platform, project, or experiment related to closing feedback loops. Lightning talks should be very narrowly focused, but should be about topics that have broad appeal and help push our thinking on the possibilities around closing feedback loops.

Feedback Face-off

Feedback Face-offs use argument to access insight. Two feedback enthusiasts represent opposing viewpoints in a no-holds-barred intellectual cage match. Intentionally provoking, these fascinating debates go beyond polite discussion to uncover the deeper discussions and disagreements that feedback practitioners and thinkers need to grapple with.


Snapshots are “TedTalk” style stories that bring to life the the challenges, successes, and nuance of constituent feedback loops. Snapshots are short but vivid stories told by implementers, funders, advocates, and others about a specific instance of their work with closing feedback loops.

But what actually works? Sharing your best practices with Three Things Thursday


Every week Feedback Labs guest authors describe 3 practical yet profound strategies that help you close feedback loops in your work. What are your three things? Come to this session to craft a compelling description of how you incorporate feedback into your own work. You could be the next guest author on the Feedback Labs blog!

Discussants: Meg VanDeusen (Feedback Labs)

Extending your Understanding through Interoperability


In this session we’ll present examples of solutions to typical problems organizations face in making use of data. Not all types of data are created equal. Why are outcome indicators more fraught to aggregate than feedback and perceptual data? What can community stories reveal about the phylogenetic tree of the aid world? Or about what actually works in development? How can transforming and assigning quality scores to IATI data reveal collaborative networks for aid? We’ll answer these questions and any others you can think up in this session. Come prepared to ask us questions about YOUR specific data exchange problems!

Discussants: Marc Maxmeister (Keystone Accountability), Nick Hamlin (GlobalGiving)

Minute to Win It: Insights from the Field


In one minute or less, feedback professionals at various points in their feedback journeys will share their most salient insight on the one thing they suggest you do to close your feedback loop. Be sure to bring your own feedback challenges, as there will be time to workshop your own feedback loops during this session.

Brad Dudding (Center for Employment Opportunities), Sophie Sahaf (LIFT), Bruno Pillet (Second Harvest Food Bank), Krystle Onibokun (The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula), Valerie Threlfall (Listen for Good)

Infomediaries and Feedback Loops: the Role of Journalists in the Feedback Cycle


This session explores the role of journalists as important infomediaries in the information ecosystem, in which feedback plays a significant role. We know that people get information in a variety of ways, and that information gets to decision makers in myriad ways as well. One critical piece of information for decision-makers is the voice of citizens, and often that voice is channeled through journalists, who have a platform that can force decision-makers to listen. This places significant responsibility on journalists to represent the voice of citizens authentically and ethically, while also applying their own judgement and perspective.

How do journalists see their own place in the feedback cycle and information ecosystem?

Discussants: Amy Costello (Tiny Spark), Marc Gunther (Nonprofit Chronicles), Alison Campbell (Internews)

Minute to Win It: Insights from the Field


In one minute or less, six feedback professionals at various points in their feedback journeys will share their most salient insight on the one thing they suggest you do to close your feedback loop. Be sure to bring your own feedback challenges, as there will be time to workshop your own feedback loops during this session.
Discussants: Brad Dudding (Center for Employment Opportunity), Sophie Sahaf (LIFT), Valerie Threlfall (Listen for Good)

Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable


Jennifer Lentfer, Director of Communications at IDEX and creator of how-matters.org, will lead participants in creative writing and reflection exercises to examine what underlies our reluctance to have difficult conversations about race, discrimination, privilege and power. If we don’t “go there,” how are we ever going to dismantle the structures that perpetuate inequality and bigotry in aid, philanthropy, social enterprise, and impact investing? How are you preventing the shift in power?

Discussants: Jennifer Lentfer (Thousand Currents)

Nuts and Bolts of Managing Adaptively: Insights from the Practical Adaptation Network


There are many efforts around exploring and growing the concept of “adaptive management” in aid and development right now, many of which overlap, some of which conflict, and all of which push us to think more expansively about the most fundamental building blocks of creating systems and organizations that are agile and responsive to the needs of those they seek to serve. This session highlights one such initiative: the Practical Adaptation Network. Piloted by Feedback Labs and USAID Global Development Lab and including more than 25 organizations, this initiative is piloting a method of working in 100 day sprints to produce concrete deliverables that are useful across agencies to facilitate managing adaptively. Come hear about PAN’s first Sprint, and join us for Sprint 2!

Discussants: Samir Doshi (USAID), Dykki Settle (PATH), Dennis Whittle (Feedback Labs), Lesley-Anne Long (mPowering Frontline Health Workers), Kristi Ragan (DAI)

What’s Yours is Mine: Extending your Understanding through Interoperability


In this session, we’ll explore a framework for data sharing and optimizing data exchange that we’re calling the “”Tao of Interoperability””. Highlighting some examples of solutions to common data challenges facing organizations that we’ve encountered, we’ll get into questions like:

• Why are outcome indicators more fraught to aggregate than feedback and perceptual data?
• What can community stories reveal about the “”phylogenetic tree”” of the aid world?
• How can transforming and assigning quality scores to IATI data reveal collaborative networks for aid?

We’ll also be exploring how what we’ve learned about the Tao of Interoperability can help solve YOUR data exchange problems, so please come prepared to share your questions about the interoperability challenges facing your organization!

Discussants: Marc Maxmeister (Keystone Accountability), Nick Hamlin (GlobalGiving)

Tools of the Trade Spotlight: Net Promoter Score


“On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend our product?” It’s a simple question you’ve probably personally answered after commercial purchases- and it’s gaining traction in the nonprofit sector as a powerful feedback and evaluation tool. Easy to collect and comparable across stakeholder groups, NPS is one tool many are turning to in order to jumpstart or supplement closing their feedback loops. GlobalGiving, Altas Corps, and Keystone Accountability discuss how they are experimenting with the Net Promoter System, and how the see it changing their feedback and evaluation practices.
Discussants: Britt Lake (GlobalGiving), Abby Flottemesch (Atlas Corps), Marc Maxmeister (Keystone Accountability)

Funding Feasibility: The Role That Foundations and Investors Play in Closing Feedback Loops

Lunch plenary

Funders play a significant role in catalyzing the closure of feedback loops; it’s hard to overstate the leverage that funders and donors can have in organizing incentives to encourage the sector to be more inclusive of and responsive to citizen voice. Many foundations and donor agencies are taking a leading role in shaping how the field is collecting, reporting, and responding to beneficiary feedback. Increasing the resource pool available to try out new ways of closing the loop is just one powerful way in which funders and donors are catalyzing experimenation and learning among their grantees and partners. During this session, representatives from different funding organizations talk about how they see their role in helping push this initiative forward, making closing feedback loops a more feasible process.

Discussants: Melinda Tuan (Fund for Shared Insight), Fay Twersky (Hewlett Foundation), Roy Steiner (Omidyar Network)

Funding Feasibility: The Role That Foundations and Investors Play in Closing Feedback Loops


A (precarious) journey to a rewarding destination: Closed feedback loops in Somaliland and India


As part of a UK Aid funded Pilot, beneficiary feedback mechanisms were established in maternal and child health projects in India and Somaliland. Opening up channels to receive and respond to feedback brought about celebrated improvements in project effectiveness, community empowerment and NGO and government accountability.
However, reaching this important destination was not a fast or straightforward journey!

The contexts were unique, however the pilots shed light on common factors within communities and organisations that could thwart well functioning feedback systems. This Session will share how the piloting partners overcame barriers and created an enabling environment where –

• Community members were more willing and able to provide feedback
• Technology was adapted and applied appropriately
• Organisational systems, staff and stakeholders were increasingly receptive and responsive to feedback
• Essential aspects of the feedback system were resourced

Learning will be shared through films, activities and discussions, including on the sustainability and scalability of these initiatives.

Discussants: Laura Walker McDonald (SIMLab), Carla Benham (World Vision UK)

Discussants: Melinda Tuan (Fund for Shared Insight), Fay Twersky (Hewlett Foundation), Roy Steiner (Omidyar Network)

Finding the Right Fit: Inclusive and Appropriate Tech and Program Design


Technology use can vitally enhance an organization’s ability to collect representative and accurate information about and feedback from constituents- but only if that technology is appropriate to and inclusive of the population in question. Designing a program technology implementation plan that meets both the needs of the constituent population and the goals of the project can be tough, especially given the demands for speed and accuracy that are placed on implementers and evaluators. Join SIMLab, Thicket Labs, and Souktel in a discussion on what inclusive and appropriate technology use looks like in closing feedback loops.
Discussants: Laura Walker McDonald (SIMLab), Deepthi Welaratna (Thicket Labs), Maggie McDonough (Souktel), Rebecca Weissburg (VOTO Mobile)

Brad Dudding

Brad Dudding

Chief Operations Officer
Center for Employment Opportunities

Brad Dudding’s career has been focused on public and nonprofit management. He is now the COO at the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) where he oversees internal operations, human capital, technology, and evaluation and learning. Prior to joining CEO, Mr. Dudding worked at the NYC Office of Management and Budget and at the New York State Controller’s Office. Brad was educated at Macalester College, University of Missouri (BA, Economics), and Rutgers University (Masters of Urban and Regional Planning). Brad is also currently an adjunct professor at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service teaching a class on performance measurement and management.

John Maritim

John Maritim

Director of Economic Planning
County of Elgeyo Marakwet, Kenya

John Maritim has been mainstreaming cross-cutting issues around the environment, gender, youth, disabilities and disaster reduction in development initiatives since 2013 in his role as Director of Economic Planning for the County Government of Elgeyo Marakwet, Kenya. Formerly, he served as the Senior Economist County Development Planning Officer in Elgeyo Marakwet County. Prior to that, Maritim served as an Economist District Development Officer for the Turkana District, Keiyo District, and Keiyo South District. He received his Masters in International Development Studies (Development Economics) from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, Japan.

Friday, October 28th

  • 8:30 – 9:00am Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 9:35am Welcome
  • 10:15 – 11:15am Sessions
  • 3:30 – 4:00pm Close of Day 2

Feedback Ninjas: How governments are reframing what it means to be open


In order to live up to their commitments to being open, participatory and transparent, government feedback champions are having to re-frame their relationships with civil society, the rest of government, and the public. What is Participatory enough? What does the public know and need to understand? How do you make openness cross-cutting across government departments? Join Open Government Partnership sub-national government champions to explore what unexpected challenges and benefits emerged as they worked to being more open, and see how their tips for being feedback ninjas apply to you!

Discussants: John Maritim (Director of Economic Planning, County of Elgeyo Marakwet, Kenya), Zack Brisson (Reboot), Kerry O’Connor (Chief Innovation Officer, City of Austin)

Raising the Stakes: Closing Citizen Feedback Loops in Fragile/Restrictive Contexts


Collecting and utilizing citizen feedback is challenging in general, but perhaps most so in conflict-prone or politically restrictive environments. Yet beneficiary feedback in such environments is even more essential with such high stakes. Lack of security and stability can impede both governments and international aid agencies/NGOs from understanding how beneficiaries truly access, perceive and benefit from services they provide. This interactive workshop will have participants tackle real-life case studies to explore which feedback mechanisms might work best in different contexts. The cases will be informed by the work of the Global Public Policy Institute, Global Integrity, the OpenGov Hub, and the Everyday Peace Indicators, and the facilitators will share emerging lessons. Participants will also engage in role play to develop practical tips/considerations for donors, humanitarian/development NGOs, and citizens themselves on closing these critical feedback loops in difficult places.

Discussants: Sun Min Kim (Global Integrity), Nada Zohdy (OpenGov Hub), Lotte Rupert (Global Public Policy Insititute), Pamina Firchow (Everyday Peace Indicators Project at George Mason University/USIP)

Adapting Beyond the Status Quo: Real-time data and adaptive management

In Conversation

How does real-time data enable adaptive management? How can dynamic data sets be used to improve current solutions and invent totally new ones? New research is uncovering unexpected insights on how organizations can (re)build decison-making system to harness the power of managing adaptively. This session highlights lessons, successes, and challenges from four leading organizations.

Discussants: Dennis Whittle (Feedback Labs), Samir Doshi (USAID), Jon Kurtz (Mercy Corps), Nadeem Mazen (City Council Cambridge MA), Alison Hemberger (MercyCorps), Zack Brisson (Reboot)

Reducing the Data Burden: How can M&E use feedback loops at the local level?


Over the past year, DG spoke with nearly 500 M&E data users and collectors about their experiences collecting, sharing, analyzing, and using results data in Tanzania, Ghana, and Sri Lanka. We found that the costs of collecting and reporting on data that inform high-level performance indicators are quite high — likely higher than many in the M&E community realize. Why? Because time spent collecting data often comes at the expense of delivering key services — from antenatal care, to improving food security of farmers.

As the international community invests in data collection for the SDGs, how can get the right data without decreasing time for service delivery? We found that the M&E data we collect are often tailored for high-level consumption and unhelpful for local decision-makers who want to use data to measure efficiency and effectiveness in their programs, clinics, and facilities. The current structure of M&E data collection and reporting has lead to a country-focused system in which outputs (activities) are aggregated to infer outcomes (impact). Unfortunately, this creates a data gap for local actors for determining their impact while also finding time to deliver services.

In this LabStorm, we want to generate ideas on how the M&E community could utilize feedback loops to help local users measure impact without adding to the “data burden”. What specific types of feedback loops have you seen utilized that use M&E data at local levels? What are the necessary enabling environments for such feedback loops? Have you seen feedback used in outcome data at the national, international, or local levels?

Discussants: Sarah Orton (Development Gateway)

Is Too Much Transparency Dangerous?


In his recent article in the Atlantic Monthly, Jon Rauch argues that excessive transparency enables special interests and ideologues to exert too much influence on the political process. This in turn prevents political leaders from reaching compromises, causing gridlock on critical decisions facing the US, hurting the “average” citizen. Norm Eisen argues that the problem is too little transparency, not too much. Smoked-filled rooms not only lead to political quid pro quos that stretch the bounds of desirability and legality; they also prevent average citizens from having their voices heard and lead to political alienation. What does this all mean for citizen feedback in aid, philanthropy, and governance? Brookings colleagues Jon and Norm will face off over whether we need more transparency or less. Join us for this provocative discussion that grapples with the effects of transparency on feedback.

Discussants: Jonathan Rauch (Brookings Institution, The Atlantic), Norm Eisen (Brookings Institution)

How language use affects our ability and willingness to give feedback

Opening Space

Discussants: Mari Kuraishi (GlobalGiving), Demond Drummer (CoderSpace)

Setting the Feedback Agenda


You spoke, we listened. Now let’s set the feedback agenda for the next twelve months. Using the Insights platform, we’ll use pattern recognition technology to distill your voices into key insights that we’ll then collectively translate into an action agenda for 2017.

Discussants: Megan Campbell (Feedback Labs), Gal Alon (Insights)

Too much of a good thing? The benefits and pitfalls of decentralized decision-making


An effective feedback system has many external and internal users who rely on feedback channels for information, communication and dialogue between service providers and program constituents. But how many managers does a feedback system need? Where in the organization should these managers be anchored and how to avoid the unnecessary and detrimental ‘gate-keeping’ and ‘procedural-ization’ of feedback processes?

Most would agree that feedback gathered, analyzed and used routinely at the “point of service” or “on the frontlines” to improve services and processes is the cornerstone of good practice in adaptive program management. CDA has documented examples in international development and humanitarian programs where frontline staff do respond quickly, adjust plans and timelines accordingly, and make local level program changes based on incoming feedback. They effectively close multiple small feedback loops, week after week. But do many small closed feedback loops automatically add-up to significant and lasting program improvements? How are these changes communicated and understood at different levels of the organization, where overall program steering and strategic decisions take place? How do we share and learn from aggregated feedback internally and externally to avoid repeating same mistakes in the future?

When field staff function with a level of autonomy in a de-centralized institutional structure, much of their adaptive actions often go undocumented and do not trickle up to the right team in the institutional hierarchy in charge of program quality, institutional learning and program design. What’s more troubling is that feedback which frontline staff cannot resolve at the local level often gets lost among the many layers of internal referral pathways.

Join us for this Labstorm to discuss how decentralized decision-making impacts program adaptation and to brainstorm strategies for improving institutional learning and higher-order adaptation based on local feedback. We’ll bring examples from our recent collaborative learning and advisory work in Haiti, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Nepal, Ukraine and Somaliland.

Discussants: Isabella Jean (CDA), Sarah Cechvala (CDA), Carla Benham (World Vision UK)

Beyond Program Iteration: Feedback Loops as tools for M&E


How can we use feedback loops as a means of program evaluation, beyond iterating towards improved program delivery? In this session, we’ll discuss examples of effective practices around user engagement, involvement and feedback, through the lens of measurement and evaluation.

Discussants: Tris Lumley (New Philanthropy Capital), Alexa Cares (Nurse-Family Partnership), Bethia McNeil (Youth Impact UK)

Fay Twersky

Fay Twersky

Senior Director
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Fay Twersky is Director of the Effective Philanthropy Group at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. She oversees five functions including cross-foundation strategy support, evaluation and organization learning as well as grantmaking in support of organizational effectiveness and a strong philanthropic sector. Twersky spent 2010–2011 working in Jerusalem, advising Yad Hanadiv (the Rothschild Family Foundation).

Twersky served for four years as Director and member of the leadership team of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, designing and developing the Impact Planning & Improvement division. She was also a founding principal of BTW – Informing Change, a strategic consulting firm.

Twersky has authored many articles and reports. Recently, she published “The Artful Juggler,” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on what it takes to be a successful Foundation Chief Executive Officer. She was principal author of Listening to Those Who Matter Most, the Beneficiaries and A Guide to Actionable Measurement. Twersky is a member of the board of directors for The Center for Effective Philanthropy and the UBS Optimus Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland. She serve on the Curriculum Advisory Committee for Philanthropy University, a newly launched Massive Open Online Course offered in collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Twersky holds two bachelor’s degrees in Rhetoric and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Memi Cardenas

Memi Cardenas

Public Information Specialist
City of Austin | Austin Resource Recovery

Memi Cárdenas has been a Public Information Specialist Senior for Austin Resource Recovery – the City of Austin’s recycling and waste management department – since June 2015. In that time, she has made her mark by leading several innovative civic engagement initiatives, including the Insights crowdsourcing project and the Austin Recycles Games.

Memi began her career in radio promotions and branding, but soon realized what she enjoyed most was community and non-profit involvement. A true civil servant, she worked as the volunteer and community coordinator at the Humane Society of Williamson County before becoming a legislative aide in the Texas House of Representatives. Additionally, she worked at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in the pollution prevention and education section, where she coordinated and implemented conservation outreach programs.

Memi received a Bachelor of Science in Communication and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin.

Kerry O'Connor

Kerry O’Connor

Chief Innovation Officer
City of Austin

Kerry Connor is Austin’s Chief Innovation Officer, having joined the City of Austin on March 24, 2014. Previously, Kerry worked at the U.S. Department of State, where she established an innovation unit called the Research and Design Center in the Office of the Secretary of State, which offers research, consulting, brainstorming facilitation, and strategic design services. She developed and managed an employee idea generation program, helped architect sustainable management reforms, coordinated logistics for the Pittsburgh G20 Summit, served as an executive staffer, and improved programs and operations at two U.S. Embassies. O’Connor holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from James Madison University.

Insights logo

Insights helps executives get advice directly from their stakeholders. As the official Feedback Partner of Feedback Summit 2016, Insights will facilitate the collaboration and decision making of summit attendees to answer the question: “What do you need in the next 6 months to close feedback loops in your work?” Make the most of this opportunity!

Click here to submit your e-mail and phone number.

Summit 2016 Speakers

Participating Organizations

Summit 2015 Video Highlights