So how does Most Significant Change (MSC) actually work? The overall process is simple but the details for each stage do matter.

  1. Defining the project to be evaluated and the community involved.
  2. Collecting stories of the most significant change caused by the project in the lives of  members of the community. The stories can be collected by interview, in group discussion or else community members can write themselves.
  3. Assessment of the stories by project stakeholders to identify the most significant story for them. In discussing the stories, stakeholders have to make explicit which outcomes matter them and which do not. The debate around the stories is most important.
  4. Feedback by the stakeholders to the communities. Which significant change story was selected as the most important and why? The story selected demonstrates in a concrete way what matters to key stakeholders.

MSC offers solutions to three issues outlined in the previous post:

  • Unexpected Outcomes: MSC does limit itself up-front to looking for pre-determined outcomes. Its questions elicit the outcomes and impacts that matter to participants.
  • Measuring the Intangible: By using stories, MSC allows participants to discuss intangible impact in a concrete way.
  • Making It Meaningful: The stories provide concrete examples of successful practice.