It’s easy to get busy with the ‘doing’ and we don’t make time to reflect on what’s working, what’s not, learnings about and what we need to adapt.

Community-led development thrives when we create a climate that:
  • is safe to ‘just try stuff’
  • appreciates and supports people’s leadership initiatives and effort
  • is honest, thoughtful and intentional about learning from failures and successes
  • is positive, fun and creative when celebrating success, however big or small
  • encourages story-telling about communities: where we have been, what we are doing and the difference we are making towards our community – a great place to live, work and play in
Learn by doing Inspiring Communities

Having intentional strategies in place to learn from our failures and successes is the key to positive outcomes.

The importance of learning, reflection and celebration

They can feel like a luxury but they’re actually a necessity:

  • We observe and affirm what we are achieving and understand more deeply how we are achieving positive change
  • By observing, listening, reflecting and discussing as a group, we learn together how to be enablers of change and grow the confidence and competence of everyone involved
  • We build a better, bigger picture of what is actually happening and can better adapt what we are doing in response to what worked or didn’t, new opportunities or challenges
  • Sharing our story and insights with others is a powerful way to engage others on our journey: funders, partners, our wider community, others working in the CLD space
  • We gather evidence of the value and what needs to change. We use this to influence wider systems change and our own future focus

Figuring out the purpose of your learning, reflection and celebration work is key to shaping what you will monitor and evaluate, how you will do so and who will use the insights you gather. Think about what you want your end result to be.

  • What decisions/behaviours/attitudes do you want to influence (influence funders and partners)
  • What data will help (stories, statistics, observations)
  • Who needs to be engaged in making sense of the data and shaping your key messages and conclusions (those directly involved/with lived experience of the issues)

How do we learn and reflect in our work?

See the tips below on setting up for success right from the beginning, and integrating learning into everything you do and our resource on facilitating effective team and learning:

Build a high trust culture of learning and reflection. See the tips below on setting up for success right from the beginning, and integrating learning into everything you do.

Design your own indicators of success and keep noticing progress: Check out our resource on measuring and monitoring CLD outcomes. This can help us evaluate our work and tell our story more effectively about the difference we are making.

Use data to influence wider systems change and your own focus: It’s no use gathering data if we are not then making use of those insights. Use a simple planning tool to support regular planning and oversight of your CLD initiatives. The Six Conditions of Systems Change: use this tool to influence lasting transformational impact.

Learn by doing Inspiring Communities

Setting up for success: learning from everything we do

Success in community-led change is not easy to achieve, and what works in one community won’t necessarily work in another. But if some essential practices are in place, it’s more likely that a community’s efforts will succeed.

Having intentional strategies in place to learn from our failures and successes is the key to positive outcomes. We don’t expect everything to go according to plan, or to always work, but if we can learn at every step of the way, that’s what creates success.

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