2.16: Unintended Outcomes

Be sure that the logic model for your program does not ignore consequences and results that may be unintended. These are hard to anticipate and plan for — it is difficult to envision the unexpected — but it is important to always consider all possibilities.

Unintended outcomes can be positive, negative, or neutral.

For example, a neighborhood-policing program would have an unintended negative outcome if the crime moved into a new neighborhood; or in an economic development initiative if small, cottage industries failed as a result of a business development program. Sometimes unexpected positive outcomes result, such as relationships and new networks that are built during programs, the transfer of skills into unexpected situations, and so forth.

As you identify your outcomes, think about:

  • What might result other than what is intended?
  • How else might the program unfold?
  • Who might be affected, unintentionally and/or negatively?
  • How might the external environment have unintended influences?

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