Miracles and Methods

February 1, 2004

Social interventions require meticulous cost-benefit analysis.

If measuring benefits is hard, measuring costs can be a nightmare. You have an innovative programme that involves the community in managing the local greenery and it is quite apparent that your programme is doing wonderful things for the environment. But you also know that you have a lot of charisma and suspect that it might have a lot to do with the way the community has involved itself in your programme. How do you, short of cloning yourself, even start to come up with the cost of reproducing the programme elsewhere? Making the programme scaleable from the beginning is probably the best way to avoid this problem, but it does impose constraints on the process of innovation.

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