Ex-ante Impact Analysis as Tool to Build and Strengthen Projects
Ex-ante Impact Analysis is a tool designed to strengthen the quality of the decision-making process and add to the capacity of policy-makers to objectively and systematically assess the effects of a project or program. The Destree Institute developed a new impact analysis tool which aims at assisting policy-makers in the conception phase of projects and in compiling portfolios to maximize the impact of their initiatives. The Destree Institute’s method follows an iterative process, from the basic level to the complex, that eases its appropriation and implementation. Using collective intelligence, the project managers structure their project in logical chains, mapping their resources, activities, impacts, and stakeholders involved. This process gives a strong structure to the projects where strengths and weaknesses can be identified and the project adapted accordingly before its adoption. This analysis is then used by program managers to build strong portfolios, a procedure facilitated by giving common and clear structures to all the initiatives managed by the program manager. The Destree Institute’s method found its first application in the context of the work of a Walloon regional development agency (Belgium). In 2020, this development agency launched a large call for proposals to which about a hundred project developers responded for appraisal. Facing an important heterogeneity among proposals in terms of maturity, content and impacts, the agency needed a method that could be appropriated rapidly and easily by all, be used to preselect projects, and to compile portfolios that maximize the impacts of the programs while increasing their chances in the financing race. The ambition of the tool is to be continuously improved and adapted to other policy fields.