What Are We Learning From the Innovation Lab?
As a learning organization, HealthSpark is continually looking to assess the impact of our grantmaking and find ways to strengthen our programs. Recently, HealthSpark engaged Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health intern Duong Tina Nguyen to evaluate the impact of our Innovation Lab grant program by conducting a series of interviews with current and former grantee partners. Ms. Nguyen developed an evaluation questionnaire, interviewed eight Innovation Lab grant recipients, and summarized the findings from her study in the report, “Innovation Lab Grant Program: February 2021 Evaluation Report.”
In her report, Ms. Nguyen outlines findings for grantee partners and for the Foundation to consider as opportunities for enhancing the effectiveness of the program to achieve sustained change in the community.
For grantee partners, the Innovation Lab has provided an opportunity to:
- Foster trust and strengthening relationships between organizations in the safety net system,
- Find cost saving through collaborations and shared resources,
- Give grantees opportunities to learn and be more self-aware of challenges and gaps in their customer engagement efforts, and
- Encourage taking risks and testing systems change concepts in reality.
For HealthSpark staff and board, the feedback from grantees encourages us to:
- Communicate explicitly the Foundation’s intentions and expected outcomes,
- Acknowledge the challenges of systems change in practice and the changes of the Foundation's focus over the years,
- Continue to attract and convene people and organizations committed to facilitating systems changes, and to
- Be the continuous source of funding to initiate systems change and see through the fruition of the project.
The evaluation report includes a number of insightful, direct (anonymous) quotes from grantee partners that is helpful for anyone interested in systems change work, especially partners seeking grants through the Innovation Lab program. The Foundation has been assessing the feedback received and is incorporating improvements into its approach moving forward.
The full report is available for download below.
Note: HealthSpark values the feedback from our partners and understands the importance of anonymity when providing feedback to a funder. HealthSpark did not participate in the interviews directly and all feedback was received through an anonymous process that eliminated any specific mention of people, organizations, or other 'tell-tale' signs that would indicate a grantee's identity. More information on methodology is contained in the report.