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. 

Highlights: Summit 2017


Missing the Feedback Summit? Read a recap of what happened on Day 1 and Day 2 of the event, what we learned this year, and how we’ll be responding to the community’s feedback in the coming months.

Thursday, November 2

  • 8:00 – 9:30am Breakfast and Socialize
  • 9:30 – 9:50am Welcome (Main Hall)
  • 9:50 – 10:20am Lightning Interview: Mimi Ito (Main Hall)
  • 10:30 – 11:30am Sessions
  • 11:45 – 12:15pm Lunch
  • 1:30 – 2:30pm Sessions
  • 2:30 – 3:00pm Networking Break
  • 3:00 – 4:00pm Sessions
  • 5:15 – 5:30pm Summary and Evaluate (Main Hall)
  • 5:30 – 7:00pm Reception (Upstairs 3D & 3E)

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)

Room: 2B

Link to slides.

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)

Room: 2B

Link to slides.

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)

Room: 3D

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.

Brad Dudding (Center for Employment Opportunities), David Bonbright (Keystone Accountability), Dan Bokar (Cleveland Clinic)

Room: 2B

Unleashing 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.

Marissa Strniste (The Hunger Project), Jill Lipski Cain (The Improve Group)

Room: 2D

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)

Room: 2A

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 this interactive workshop we will explore how cities participating in the Open Government Partnership Subnational program are moving beyond information provision to engage in inclusive, transformative conversations with their constituents. How are they closing feedback loops with their most vulnerable and marginalized constituents? We’ll explore lessons and tools from the subnational pilot cities of Buenos Aires and Austin, TX that may be transferable or scalable to other contexts.
Angela Hanson (City of Austin, TX), Brittany Giroux Lane (Open Government Partnership), María Soledad Gattoni (City of Buenos Aires, Open Government Partnership)

Room: 2D

Under what conditions is information empowering?

The last decade has seen a lot of effort toward information provision around the world, from the transparency and accountability movement to the rise of social media and cell phone coverage. But the results in terms of empowerment outcomes have been mixed. Recently, Omidyar Network, GlobalGiving and Feedback Labs have investigated under what conditions information is empowering. This session builds on the results of that research to ask what questions and conditions should we explore next?

Megan Campbell (Feedback Labs), Mari Kuraishi (GlobalGiving), Mike Kubzansky (Omidyar Network), Mimi Ito (University of California, Irvine), Zack Brisson (Reboot)


Relinquishing Power in Community-led Grantmaking

Feedback is important in the design and monitoring of specific development projects, but what if the programs you’re supporting are not what the community wants in the first place? What is the obligation of grantmakers to incorporate feedback in the their own funding decisions? How can the philanthropic sector go even further and give control of funding directly to local communities and nonprofits?

In this session, GlobalGiving, Spark Microgrants, and Thousand Currents will share what they’ve learned from their own experiences in shifting the power in grantmaking to the people and communities ultimately affected, and the effect that has had on the programs they support.

Britt Lake (GlobalGiving), Katherine Zavala (Thousand Currents), Sasha Fisher (Spark Microgrants)

Room: 2A

So now you’re a data practitioner. …now what?

If you’re collecting feedback data, monitoring information, or registering service users, then you are a data practitioner. Both ethics and, in many cases, the law require you to manage that data responsibly.

What does this mean? What systems do we need to put in place? How can we make this affordable and feasible when many organizations are already so stretched? And what are some of the tensions and challenges?

We’ll hear from platform providers, practitioners and experts, and through discussion and collaborative exercises, explore the practicalities, the pitfalls, and some useful tools and frameworks. We’ll also be sharing the results of some of SIMLab’s research on the reality of responsible data practices on the front lines.

Laura Walker McDonald (SIMLab), Haneen Malallah (Oxfam America), Hillary McCall (Souktel Digital Solutions), Sean McDonald (Frontline SMS)

Room: 3E

Local News: How Citizen Feedback Can Drive the News

How is local media in the U.S. using feedback to listen to and create meaningful conversations with the communities they serve? And how are those conversations including those in power in their communities to empower change? In this session we’ll get an overview of emerging feedback trends in local journalism, then we’ll dive deep into several inspiring examples. Get to know The Listening Post Collective, and others in this session.

Carolyn Powers (Internews), Teresa Gorman (Democracy Fund), Kymone Freeman (We Act Radio)

Room: 2C

Ask them! The role of feedback in evaluating and designing with and for youth

Human-centred design is a creative approach to problem solving that starts with people and arrives at new solutions tailored to meet their lives. Prototyping is a key component of HCD, where we test and iterate until we know we have a solution that is desirable to the end user and feasible for scale and impact in the target context. Evaluation is a process of understanding and determining value, and is integral to service design. Feedback plays a crucial role in both design and evaluative phases of programmes, where we seek to get a deeper understanding of human experience, emerging outcomes, and perceptions of ‘impact’, and need research that is flexible, agile and deeply empathetic. Having introduced the HCD approach, IDEO will present two examples of feedback in action from youth programmes in Ethiopia and Guatemala, highlighting how the approach influences key design decisions for stronger programmes. The Centre for Youth Impact will present on current work to embed closed feedback loops in evaluation in youth-serving organisations in the UK, where is it helping to address some historical challenges in impact measurement in informal provision.

Participants will then break into groups to explore how they could apply the processes shared in the session to their own youth programme development challenges. We will invite reflections on the process in plenary.

Bethia McNeil (Youth Impact UK), Matt Hill (Centre for Youth Impact), Chris Larkin (IDEO), Natalia Sourdis (IDEO)

Room: 3E

Link to slides.

NYC: Feedack-driven Services

Georges Clement (JustFix.NYC), Streetlives, NYC Mayor’s Office of Opportunity

Listening to Residents and Listening to Data

The mantra of data-driven policymaking has taken hold in governments at all levels, particularly in the United States. Data is a hugely important ingredient in policy evaluation, but resident experiences, opinions, and feedback (which are also data) are important, too. What Works Cities, which works with 100 mid-sized cities in the United States is adding “resident informed” to the “data driven” mantra. In this session Clarence Wardell, What Works Cities’ Director of Repurposing for Results, will have a conversation with Jennifer Bradley of the Aspen Institute Center for Urban Innovation to describe what they’ve learned so far, what to do when data and residents’ voice seem to point in different directions, and how to convince policymakers to embrace both sides of the equation.

Jennifer Bradley (Aspen Institute), Clarence Wardell (Results for America)

Room: 3D

Exploring the link between Systems-thinking and Power Analysis

Systems-thinking and power analysis are different but highly complementary approaches to better understanding how development outcomes are generated and sustained. The benefit of thinking in systems is to gain clarity about the fundamental logic of why and how causal loops produce systemic outcomes. The strength of power analysis lies in its usefulness to understand the positioning, interests, and influence people or organizations exert toward achieving specific goals. Both approaches have explanatory value and offer entry points for taking more effective action.

Yet it seems — and despite the field increasingly accepting to focus on the role of power — that there are few explicit links and direct communication about the ways in which systems-thinking can help inform action to shift power (Oxfam being a notable counter-example).

In this session we invite participants to explore — together with us — the relationship between the two approaches. Why, when and how is it beneficial to shift the lens from one approach to the other? What are examples of organizations or projects integrating the approaches successfully? How can they be combined to generate insights and to inform action about specific problems? Or is their relationship a question of sequencing the inquiry? Alternatively, do we (the field) have an implicit bias dreading the implication that by thinking about power and systemic change simultaneously, we realize that our programming must be political at its core?

We’ll explore these questions and apply them to a recent program NPC is structuring. We invite the audience to think with us about disentangling the concepts, gaining clarity, sharing examples and experiences and reflecting about the challenge of how to engage with the political dynamics to shift power (im-)balances.

Johannes Tonn (Global Integrity), Tris Lumley (NPC)

Room: 2D

Introduction to Lean Data

Acumen created Lean Data in 2014 so that we could hear from our customers and understand what impact means to them. Lean Data grew out of Acumen’s direct experience investing in nearly 100 early-stage businesses serving low-income customers in more than 15 countries in the developing world. Our starting point, based on our own frustrations using existing impact measurement frameworks, was that it was a mistake to try to impose complex, top-down approaches onto firms struggling to build businesses in some of the world’s toughest markets. Instead, Lean Data had to start by finding a way to add bottom-up value to these firms.

Based on this premise, and with a laser focus on building out a low-cost way to listen to end customers, Lean Data has become a simple solution that makes impact data collection quick, cost effective, and, most importantly, focused on the user experience of firms and their consumers. A typical Lean Data project takes four weeks to execute, and follow-up projects using the same setup and questions can be executed even more quickly.

Acumen has delivered Lean Data projects with the majority of companies in our investment portfolio. We have surveyed over 35,000 customers through more than 100 Lean Data projects. Starting in 2016, we began implementing Lean Data projects for companies in Omidyar Network’s and the DFID/CDC Impact Fund’s portfolios to test the broader applicability of these approaches in other impact investors’ portfolios. The results have been very promising, based on feedback from both entrepreneurs and investors.

Roy Steiner (Omidyar Network), Sasha Dichter (Acumen), Tom Adams (Acumen)

Room: 2A

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 (Mozilla Fellow, Loup.Design)

Room: 3D

Link to slides.

Feedback-Powered Impact Investing

As impact investors increasingly seek to use beneficiary feedback as evidence of impact, this session will feature how three leading practitioners are using tools to capture customer insights to inform their work. It will also ask whether pooling the insights and information could have collective value for the sector, and if so at what cost.

Brian Trelstad (Bridges Fund Management), Tom Adams (Acumen), Steve Goodall (OutSell Inc), Julie Peachey (Poverty Probability Index), David Bonbright (Keystone Accountability)

Room: 2C

The Future of Feedback-Driven Philanthropy

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, often through catalyzing experimentation and learning among their grantees and partners. During this session, representatives from different perspectives talk about how they see funders’ role in helping push the field forward, making closing a process that shifts greater and greater power to grantees and ultimate beneficiaries.

Fay Twersky (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation), Kelley Gulley (Irvine Foundation), Philip Chow (Humanitas), Jenny Hodgson (Global Fund for Community Foundations)

Room: Main Hall

Shifting Power to People

How can feedback help shift power to regular people? Is there a gap between our rhetoric and our reality? This lively and candid discussion between two prominent and seasoned leaders will grapple with the promise (and perils) of shifting power to regular people by engaging in real conversations with them.

Gayle Smith (ONE Campaign), Keith Hansen (World Bank)

Room: Main Hall

Data Interoperability: Huh?

Systems and processes that enable data sharing and collaboration across individuals and organizations have the potential to create huge benefits and network effects within the social sector. In this conversation, our panel will share examples of interoperability that have succeeded, some that haven’t, and some where we’re not sure yet. We’ll also explore what might be possible down the road for driving these kind of relationships in the feedback community and what it might take to get us there.

Nick Hamlin (GlobalGiving), Philip Chow (Humanitas), Alison Miranda (Transparency Initiative)

Room: 3E

Friday, November 3

  • 8:00 – 9:30am Breakfast and Socialize
  • 9:30 – 9:55am Lightning Interview: Narayan Adhikari (Main Hall)
  • 9:55 – 10:05am Welcome (Main Hall)
  • 10:15 – 11:15am Sessions
  • 11:30 – 12:00pm Lightning Interview: Fagan Harris (Main Hall)
  • 12:00 – 12:30pm Lunch
  • 1:45 – 2:45pm Sessions
  • 2:45 – 3:15pm Popcorn Break
  • 4:30 – 5:00pm Summary and Looking Ahead (Main Hall)

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)

Room: 2C

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)

Room: 2C

Blockchain and Buzzkill: How new technologies could radically change (or improve! or worsen!) accountability

Blockchain technology has been both hailed as “a profound technological shift that will change how the world does business” and derided as “not rocket science, not revolutionary, and not even that smart”. So which one is it? Or is it something else entirely? This session will attempt to cut through the hype and explore some of the real possibilities and problems of using blockchain in the feedback community. Please bring your own questions and ideas to discuss!

Tris Lumley (NPC), Nick Hamlin (GlobalGiving), Tim Nourse (Making Cents)

Room: 2A
Link to slides.

Adapting to Adaptive Management: Donor’s Perspective

Donors are being asked to solve a new generation of global challenges such as climate change, inequality and rapid technological change. Adaptive management is a more flexible, feedback-driven approach for addressing complex development challenges like these. The World Bank, USAID and Rockefeller Foundation are experimenting with new ways to bring adaptive management into their organizations. This session will present their experiences, including the potential benefits and challenges in adapting to adaptive management.

Merrick Schaefer (USAID), John Ikeda (World Bank), Veronica Olazabal (The Rockefeller Foundation)

Room: 2B

Data Law 101

As civil society digitizes, we’re not only confronted with new technical and capacity challenges – we’re confronted with new legal challenges. Digitization is creating data as a new asset class, creating new opportunities, and a few new challenges – all of which takes place against a complicated international and technical landscape. The law of data, software, and the Internet is complex, and changing quickly.

In this session, we map some of the core concepts involved in the way that data law works and is evolving – and a high-level overview of some of the basic tools that organizations can use to protect themselves and maximize their mission. We’ll hear from non-profit, government, and funder lawyers – focusing on their priorities and recommendations for organizations exploring the intersection of data and law.

Sean McDonald (FrontlineSMS), Mary Madden (Data&Society), Justin Bookman (Consumers Union)

Room: 2D

M&E&F: The Three Legged Stool

Near and far, people talk about M&E as though it were a well-understood fixture in the measurement landscape. In this session, we will be introducing a new framework for measurement in the social sector. It is a three legged stool: (1) evaluation; (2) monitoring; and (3) feedback. We will draw on examples of how this plays out in practice at the Nurse Family Partnership and also welcome your examples, ideas and challenges. This is a participatory session!

Fay Twersky (Hewlett Foundation), Roxane White (Aspen Institute)

Room: 3D

Connecting the Dots: Feedback Loops and Better Results

Do feedback loops lead to improved development outcomes and organizational effectiveness? And if so, how? USAID’s support mechanism, the Learning and Knowledge Management contract (LEARN), recently generated a body of evidence demonstrating the use of feedback loops increases the likelihood evidence will be used for decision-making. In turn, the application of this evidence leads to increased organizational effectiveness and sometimes, better development results. This interactive session will first provide a brief overview of the evidence on feedback loops followed by a rotating table discussion featuring: feedback mechanisms employed by Global Communities during the height of the Ebola crisis in Liberia; a customized reporting system used by Mercy Corps for a market expansion program in Ethiopia; and ACDI/VOCA’s iterative testing approach to combat aflatoxin in Kenya.

Kristin Lindell (USAID Learn), Diana Picon (Mercy Corps), Anna Garloch (ACDI/VOCA), Brett Sedgewick (Global Communities)

Room: 2B

Link to slides and handouts 1, 2, 3, 4


Evidence on what works (and what doesn’t) in citizen participation

Results from rigorous impact evaluations suggests that some approaches to involving citizens in monitoring community projects are more effective than others in holding politicians and service providers accountable. At this session, speakers from the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab will discuss specific characteristics of successful community feedback loops, and common pitfalls that may prevent communities and partners from leveraging feedback to improve citizen outcomes. Evidence from Uganda, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone will be presented.

Eliza Keller (J-PAL), Yuen Ho (J-PAL), Emma Arcodia (Search for Common Ground)

Room: 2A
Link to slides.

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.

Marc Maxmeister (Keystone Accountability), Nick Hamlin (Global Giving)

Plenary Workshop: Evolution or Revolution?

In this plenary workshop, choose the topic most interesting to you and work in a small group to discover: do we need an evolution or a revolution in feedback?

Room: Main Hall

Citizens and Their Cities

Cities are important hubs of innovation when it comes to listening to the voices of regular people. This session will highlight the practices and ideas that are emerging from the work that different organizations are carrying out to close constituent feedback loops in cities. What is the future of citizen engagement that support urban development?

Max Stearns (Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, City of Boston), Sakina Khan (DC Office of Planning)

Room: 3D

There’s Something in the Zeitgeist: What’s on the horizon for feedback?

What is on the horizon for feedback? What will happen for feedback not only in 2018, but over the next five or ten years? Feedback Labs core members and supporters will discuss what they see as the most promising advances in feedback practice and technology, and highlight areas where they see the biggest need for growth and innovation.

Dennis Whittle (Feedback Labs), Mari Kuraishi (GlobalGiving), David Bonbright (Keystone Accountability), Jean-Louis Sarbib (Development Gateway), Veronica Olazabal (The Rockefeller Foundation), Michael Thatcher (Charity Navigator)

How Big is the Tent?

Sometimes our best efforts to serve a broadly defined community of the marginalized people are complicated by strategic communications and tactical considerations. Can a community cohere over time through a series of sequential, incremental victories that do not change the lives of all at once? How can movements be constant and true to their purpose and also to their stakeholders in the face of tactical compromises and strategic twists and turns? What, if any near-term tradeoffs should be made? This discussion will explore the practical and ethical dimensions of this all-too-familiar conundrum.

Jessica Neuwirth (ERA Coalition), Bryan Simmons (Arcus Foundation)

Room: Main Hall

Rumor Tracking and Feedback Utilization in Humanitarian Contexts

Imagine yourself in the aftermath of a disaster. What information will you want to receive first? What information will you want to give to agencies supporting your recovery? Will they listen and respond? Come hear the latest lessons from humanitarian feedback and rumor tracking practices!

Rumors travel fast and can cause people to make ill-informed decisions. In emergencies and humanitarian crises access to verified information in your language and from a trusted source can be scarce. In Nepal, volunteers, working with Accountability Lab, Internews, Local Interventions Group and other local partners launched Open Mic Nepal, a systematic information loop that tracks, investigates, and reports back to local communities on damaging rumors.

Conversely, feedback doesn’t move fast and continues to be under-utilized in decision-making. We want to change that! The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and CDA Collaborative Learning Projects collaborated on a joint research project to examine feedback utilization in organizations assisting the displaced populations in Uganda. We utilized behavioral insights and coaching to simplify and motivate the use of feedback in decision-making.

Accountability Lab has run a collective feedback platform during the Nepal earthquake response working with international and local organizations to improve the use of feedback data in decision-making. There are many barriers, but also many opportunities to do this well!

Nicolas Seris (IRC), Isabella Jean (CDA), Blair Glencorse (Accountability Lab)

Room: 2D

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!


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.

Summit 2017 Location

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

1100 New York Ave, NW
Suite 200 (take the East elevators)
Washington, DC 20005


Nearby Hotel Recommendations

Washington Marriott at Metro Center
775 12th St, NWm Washington, DC 20005

Grand Hyatt Washington
1000 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

Renaissance Washington Hotel
999 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

Embassy Suites
900 10th St, NW, Washington, DC 20001

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.

Dulles International Airport (IAD): Metro Bus 5A picks up from Curb 2E and takes approximately 1 hour to the final stop at L’Enfant Plaza. From there take the Blue, Orange, or Silver Metro line to Metro Center.
Silverline Express Bus picks up from the Arrivals Level at door 4. Transfer at Wiehle-Reston to the Metro silver line and ride directly to Metro Center.

Reagan National Airport (DCA): From Terminal B or C use the pedestrian bridges to take the Metro blue line directly to Metro Center, from terminal A take any airport shuttle to the metro stop at Terminal B or C.

Baltimore-Washington International (BWI): Take a shuttle to the MARC Penn line and ride to Union Station. From there, take the Metro red line to Metro Center.

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 [email protected] to be an integral part of using feedback to create responsive, democratic, and accountable governance.

The work of Feedback Labs is sponsored by:

fund for shared insight