- Author: Wendy Powers
I think the last time I opened a fortune cookie my fortune was something along the lines of “you shall have many surprises” – not exactly the kind of fortune that puts you at ease but rather has you wondering what qualifies someone to write the fortunes that get stuffed into cookies anyways. A good friend and colleague sent me a text the other day that the fortune in her cookie read “A goal is a dream with a deadline”. Now that's a fortune that at least makes you stop and think. It is fitting for some of my meetings this week, despite belonging to someone else.
This morning a group of us met to talk about progress on the strategic plan, particularly the metrics we use to measure our progress. Much like condition changes, we need to really sit down and think what indicators can be used to document our success. The ‘big goal' is to have a positive impact on the lives of every Californian. Because that's so lofty we have other goals (15 of them, to be exact) that are much like condition changes in that if we realize these changes in condition we have greater confidence that we will achieve the big goal. Some of those condition changes include reaching more people by making our science-based information more accessible, increasing the number of people delivering that science-based information as a means of reaching more people, streamlining administrative efficiencies so that there is more time and financial resources to be directed towards programming, increasing partnerships to increase the capacity and financial resources that translate into reaching more people, maintaining and improving infrastructure to facilitate research needed to address current and emerging challenges, and so on.
Quantifying the success of our strategic plan is then much like quantifying the impact of an individual or team's program – we need to identify the correct indicators to measure the change in condition. For example, how do we determine that we have reached more people or streamlined administrative efficiencies? Can outputs be used as indicators of impacts? Can a single indicator be used for multiple condition changes? These are all questions that we are thinking through all across UC ANR, whether it be related to programs/research or administration. And, like many of the conversations related to quantifying condition changes resulting from programs and research, we are talking about the timeline for quantification – where can we quantify success in the short term and what needs a longer window in order to show incremental change? So this is where we need to put a timeline on our dream of having a positive impact on the lives of 40 million Californians. I can foresee losing some sleep over this!
The condition changes that will be coded into Project Board are posted on the Strategic Plan website. Many, many minds resulted in a strong, achievable list. That kind of thinking will translate the dream into reality so despite the lofty goal I am looking forward to the strategic plan annual reunion for the planning and implementation team that is scheduled for mid-January.
Time to get some sleep. I don't think it will be sugarplum fairies dancing in my head tonight.