Value of the Output
In a typical OLM, outputs are presented merely as results of the activities. The output, though, is more important because it is the basis for grading ourselves. You have an input that allows you to perform activities. Then, you have outputs from those. Outputs are how we judge what you’re doing. Wright’s Method suggests that an output has additional value.
It is funny to me that people are OK with doing outcome logic models that simply map what’s going on. They don’t have a real understanding of what could be going on. It’s like the consultant that is hired and enters the meeting saying, “I’ll show you what’s going on, but I won’t help you fix it or make it more profitable.” Many utilize outcome logic models in the same way. My point is that the opportunity exists to recognize that if the output has value in the mapping, it has value beyond the implementation. Your output should not just be thought of as what is left over after you complete an activity. It shouldn’t be wasted as rubbish. It should be collected. All information that’s created is of value. Also, the materials that were utilized to create the data is potentially valuable. If you are successful with implementation of your plan, people want to do the same thing you are doing. If you’re getting great outputs and impacts, many people will want to replicate what you did. They are not only interested in what happened, but they want to know how you made that happen. It’s more than just your activities.
For example, activity would be an after-school program. In our after-school program, we created and utilized a program manual. The program manual is the output of the after-school program activity. That’s what everybody else wants if they are going to start an after-school program. They want to have the guide that you created and utilized. They want the same outputs and impact. They are going to need your manual. The manual is an output, but it also becomes product. We can now share that product with other people who want to replicate the program. We can offer it to them for a fee.
In the Wright Method, the outputs are products that lend themselves to individualized packaging and distribution. That product you are just talking about could be distributed to different businesses, different groups, or stakeholders. Conceptualize the columns like all OLM, but consider the products that extend from outputs. Consider how packaging and disseminating them can be another activity and revenue stream for the business.
Questions of the Wright Method
Think it through. Entrepreneurs and social do-gooders present with just an idea. They literally will say, “I want to do a program for foster children.” Or, “I want to create an after-school program.” That’s really all they have. The Wright Method asks, “What kind of products are going to come out of that business model? In addition to what you want to do, how are you going to make that happen and sustain the momentum? What kind of products would you have if you were creating social good and operating your business? How are you going to pay for this? How are you going to sustain this long term?”
Often, it’s going to be a curriculum, but I also talk about what other types of products may be possible. The outcome logic model forces you to answer those questions. Outputs are the critical component to answering these questions.