Action Design for Change

Learning Objective

Research, analyze, and determine appropriate methods and contemporary strategies for designing and implementing initiatives that generate positive social impact.


The final assignment from Action Design for Social Impact


In this final paper for the Action Design for Social Impact course, I reflected on the work I had done in preparation for the Capstone Action Design course. We were encouraged to take our current research and move the change initiative forward. Ultimately, we were tasked with imagining what might occur beyond the 10 week time-frame of the Capstone Action project. With that in mind, I offered an action design proposal that focused on building an effective quality standard tool designed to ensure valuable care is offered to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The action design offers an overview on the issue of quality care as context to the social issue, provides a proposed solution that describes how the tool can be used and shares the underlying Theory of Change that drives the action design,. It also presents both an impact assessment and evaluation process that helps identify the effectiveness of the quality standard tool and how to best use those findings to increase the long-term scalability and sustainability of the tool.

This project plan includes a Theory of Change which you can see below:


I conclude:

The evaluation process will help the committee gain a better understanding of the quality assessment tool in action and guarantee that the tool continually improves the quality of services being offered to people with disabilities over time.

The action design plan aims to create an understanding of how to best ensure the creation, implementation and monitoring of a quality standard tool can create lasting impact in the disability care industry and in the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The successful implementation of this quality standard tool and subsequent sustainability of this change initiative is important, not only for the disability community in the state of Arizona, but it is also beneficial for the future of disability care as a whole.

Change initiatives are often long-term and require that the participants consider what strategies will create long-term stability and sustainability. In this case, the stakeholder group and I knew how important it would be to consider impact down the road. While our change strategy for the Capstone work was short-term it built a foundation for more change to occur at a later time.

Change in Profession

This project and the Action Design course taught me how important it is to develop a strong theory of change before starting on any change initiative. A theory of change helps gauge what the project will require to see positive change come to fruition. It serves as a scaffolding to the project and helps test assumptions.

In my current role, I help to manage a relationship with a funder that relies heavily on logic tables and theories of change to inform their grant making decisions. Now I have the knowledge and understanding to help support this process. Creating this action design document helped me to see how I can ensure our work makes sense within the logic model framework while also ensuring that our outputs and impacts are in line with the work we want to see accomplished.

Change in Relationships

This particular project changed the way my stakeholder group and I approached our change initiative and helped to validate the work we were doing. As a result, we really saw our relationships strengthened and the group began to take on more and more pieces of the project themselves.

Change in Self

I’ve learned to accept that change is sometimes a long-term process and requires deeply thoughtful work– especially if you are trying to create meaningful change around a social issue. I’ve also recognized that we all have roles in change processes. Sometimes our role is lead the change and other times it is to a part of the group that participates in dialogue or action that will help sustain the change.


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