Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators
Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators
Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators

Revisiting Your Theory of Change

In its simplest form, a Theory of Change aims to answer:


“What is the impact we want to create, and what activities are needed to get us there?”

Your “Theory of Change” is a framework that lays out the interconnection or relationships with the problem or opportunity you’ve identified, with the activities that your organisation engages in, and how these activities connect to the outputs, which connect to the outcomes, and ultimately the impact this creates.

For many ESOs, a Theory of Change is created at inception, and oftentimes forgotten in the midst of growth and change. When rapid change, growth, and uncertainty comes knocking, revisiting your Theory of Change will help you ground your organisation’s path and avoid unnecessary distractions.

For more about Theory of Change, see the Helping Ventures to Measure Their Impact section of this Guide. 

Probing Questions

Based on your answer to the below, your outcomes, outputs, and activities will be decided. Ask yourself where you excel and where you may need help.

  • Problem

    • What are the problems and opportunities you are seeking to address?
    • Have they changed in your new reality?
    • Are there new opportunities?
  • Impact

    • What is the impact that you want to create by solving that problem or opportunity?
    • Has your focus changed because of circumstances?

Foresight Case Study

Hey everyone, it's Keith again. And we're going to give another case study of Foresight the cleantech accelerator.

And in this particular case, what I want to focus on is the development of part of their Theory of Change. And in their Theory of Change, one of the impacts that they identified is they wanted to help Canada to become a global leader in the clean economy, and in the cleantech environment.

And so that then led them to a set of activities and target outputs. And on of them is the Core Cleantech Cluster, where they want to start by accelerating the clean economy in the providence of British Columbia as a launching point to then do that across Canada.

So it's a really good example of how the organisation Foresight and their leader Jeanette Jackson focused on, "Hey, where are we trying to go in the next three years?" And then based on that, "What do we need to do now to get that process going?" And then they were able to share that vision with funders and donors and people who were willing to support this initiative.

And so now this is an important foundation initiative for Foresight. And it really allows them to kind of calibrate all of their activities around it.

So a really, really good case study of how Theory of Change can help you to prepare for the activities and the outputs you are going to do in the near term, in order to achieve the impact that you want to achieve.


Current Assessment

What is your organisation’s current state and where do you want to go?