Policy Anticipation, Response and Evaluation

Evidence-based policy is often framed by questioning what works, for whom and in what situations. It is often forgotten that the ability to answer this question depends on knowledge about what has happened, what is happening and what is likely to happen.

Impact evaluation, real-time monitoring and foresight are critical elements of development policy processes. This is particularly so when issues are emergent, complex, or sensitive. Effective short- and medium-term horizon scanning is thus essential. New tools, approaches, and methods are needed to allow governments, donors, NGOs, and businesses to scan, to act, and to measure impact.

The Policy Anticipation, Response and Evaluation programme (2012–17) was commissioned and funded by the UK Department for International Development. In addressing these issues, the programme was organised under three themes: foresight, rapid response, and impact innovation.

The first of the programmes outcomes was stronger and timely evidence-based guidance for governments, donors, and NGOs to respond rapidly to unfolding events and newly emerging issues through horizon scanning and crisis response. The programme also provided extensive new knowledge on innovative approaches for evaluating policy impacts in complex contexts.

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Tomorrow Today

Tomorrow Today is a horizon scanning programme designed to support the preliminary but systematic exploration of new and emergent policy issues. More details

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Questioning Three Fundamental Assumptions in Financial Inclusion

IDS Evidence Report 176 (2016)

Financial inclusion has rapidly ascended global development policy agendas. Between 2 billion and 2.5 billion adults worldwide do not use formal financial services (World Bank 2015: v), which a multifaceted coalition of actors is committed to changing. More details


Foresight and International Development: Conference Report

IDS Evidence Report 168 (2016)

This report presents a summary of a one-day conference on ‘Foresight and International Development’ held at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on 15 October 2015. More details


Balancing Inclusiveness, Rigour and Feasibility: Insights from Participatory Impact Evaluations in Ghana and Vietnam

CDI Practice Paper 14 (2016)

This paper by Adinda Van Hemelrijck and Irene Guijt explores how impact evaluation can live up to standards broader than statistical rigour in ways that address challenges of complexity and enable stakeholders to engage meaningfully. More details


Qualitative Comparative Analysis: A Valuable Approach to Add to the Evaluator’s ‘Toolbox’? Lessons from Recent Applications

CDI Practice Paper 13 (2016)

A heightened focus on demonstrating development results has increased the stakes for evaluating impact (Stern 2015), while the more complex objectives and designs of international aid programmes make it ever more challenging to attribute effects to a particular intervention (Befani, Barnett and Stern 2014). More details


Annotated Bibliography – Evaluating Impact Investing

IDS Evidence Report 164 (2016)

‘Impact’ in impact investing has been touted as bringing a new dimension to investing, going beyond investment’s traditional ‘risk’ and ‘return’ dimensions, and even becoming a new paradigm in solving society’s problems. More details


Big Data and International Development: Impacts, Scenarios and Policy Options

IDS Evidence Report 163 (2015)

Many people are excited about data, particularly when those data are big. Big data, we are told, will be the fuel that drives the next industrial revolution, radically reshaping economic structures, employment patterns and reaching into every aspect of economic and social life. More details


Ensuring Developing Countries Benefit from Big Data

IDS Policy Briefing 107 (2015)

Big data is already creating a big impact. Some herald it as the new ‘data revolution’, others worry it is a tool for manipulation, while many in development cite it as key to successfully implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. More details


The Future of Social Protection – Where Next?

IDS Policy Briefing 106 (2015)

Social protection is one of the success stories of development policy in the early twenty-first century, leading to questions about its future direction. More details


Markets for Nutrient-rich Foods: Policy Synthesis from Three Country Studies

IDS Evidence Report 161 (2015)

This Evidence Report examines the potential for and limitations of promoting business and market-based approaches to reducing undernutrition through increasing the availability and accessibility of nutrient-rich foods for the undernourished. More details


The Political Economy of Low-Carbon Investment: the Role of Coalitions and Alignments of Interest in the Green Transformation in China

IDS Evidence Report 160 (2015)

The primary motivation behind this research is the need to accelerate the supply of renewable energy because of the important role that it plays in mitigating climate change and in fostering sustainable development. More details


Monitoring and Evaluation Report: Year 3

IDS Evidence Report 159 (2015)

This is a brief report on the developments and use of the monitoring and evaluation system within the Institute of Development Studies’ Accountable Grant (AG). More details


Inequality: Trends, Harms and New Agendas

IDS Evidence Report 144 (2015)

The notion that inequality matters has spread and gained currency over the last years. After decades of neglect, inequality is finally ‘in from the cold’ (Atkinson 1997), and firmly at the centre of research and policy agendas. More details


Sexuality, Poverty and the Law: A Case Study Approach for Exploring Avenues of Change

IDS Evidence Report 153 (2015)

There is increasing pressure in international development to demonstrate that aid spending has an impact. This includes spending on policy research. More details


Accelerating Sustainability: Why Political Economy Matters

IDS Evidence Report 152 (2015)

Accelerating sustainability is a challenge that defines our era and is a central theme of Institute of Development Studies research. This paper brings together what we can learn from development studies and from sustainability studies to understand this challenge and move forward. More details


Edible Insects and the Future of Food: A Foresight Scenario Exercise on Entomophagy and Global Food Security

IDS Evidence Report 149 (2015)

This document reports on the findings of a small project in which we used the tools of Foresight to think about the potential of edible insects to contribute to global food security in a future global food system. More details


Mutual Learning for Change: An Assessment of the SIA Programme of the Rising Powers Programme

IDS Evidence Report 147 (2015)

The Senior International Associates (SIA) programme is part of the Rising Powers in International Development programme at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), under which senior policy actors in the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), specifically India, China and Brazil, have come to IDS to advance mutual learning since 2012. More details


Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs April 2014 – March 2015

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2015)

In much writing about development, policy and practice are portrayed as if they are joined at the hip. Policy shapes practice, while learning from practice informs policy processes. In this portrayal, practice is usually understood to refer to development practice, or how development programmes and projects are implemented. More details


Event Report: Right or Wrong? What Values Inform Modern Impact Evaluation?

IDS Evidence Report 139 (2015)

This workshop was supported by the Institute of Development Studies’ (IDS’) Department for International Development (DFID) Accountable Grant, with a view to start a dialogue around the use and application of ethics in impact evaluation. More details


Background Report: Right or Wrong? What Values Inform Modern Impact Evaluation?

IDS Evidence Report 140 (2015)

This background report supported an event hosted in January 2015 by the Centre for Development Impact (CDI) – a joint initiative between the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Itad and the University of East Anglia (UEA) – with the objective of opening up the debate on ethics and exploring how it can become more relevant to the field of impact evaluation. More details


PDS ‘To Go’? ‘Portability’ of Rights through Real-time Monitoring: the Centralised Online Real-time Electronic PDS in Chhattisgarh, India

IDS Evidence Report 133 (2015)

Information and communications technology (ICT)-based reforms are increasingly being used to improve the delivery of public services. More details

(Proactive) Foresight

24 Nov 2015
By Gioel Gioacchino