Value, Intervention, belief
Perhaps surprisingly, the definitions of Theory of Change, Intervention and Valued Variable are inter-related. You can’t really understand one without understanding the other two.
Informally, we can say:
If someone has a Theory how doing one thing can influence something else they value, they have a Theory of Change.
We mark a Variable we value with
!valued (which is printed as a red smiley). So if this is our Theory, that means we value the outcome it contains and therefore presumably we are planning to “!do” the Intervention.
An outcome we value !valued !do Something we can do
The Mechanism which a Theory of Change reports on is called a Project.
Valued Variables and intervention Variables in Theorymaker
As we already saw, in Theorymaker, we mark a !do Variable aka an intervention Variable, which is a Variable we can directly influence, with
!do (which is printed as a green wedge). We also mark a Variable we value with
!valued (which is printed as a red smiley).
A valued Variable can be marked with
So I might randomly or excellently do something and it might have an accidental effect on variables I value, but that doesn’t make it into a plan or project.
A Theory of Change is a Theory about a Project!
But wait - if a Theory is a Theory which reports on any old Mechanism, what does a Theory of Change report on? The answer in Theorymaker is rather neat: