Article of the UIA Knowledge base
Edit 11 June 2020
by UIA Article

How monitoring and evaluation can support innovative interventions

UIA projects are designed to go beyond traditional policies and services – they need to be bold and innovative. In that context, the monitoring and evaluation of such interventions presents its own set of challenges. Monitoring and evaluation of results is indeed a big challenging task and a number of urban authorities are using the opportunities offered by UIA, in terms of flexibility and availability of financial resources, to go one step beyond.

In 2020, UIA, together with Ecorys, is exploring the different practices, methodologies and techniques developed by on-going UIA projects to capture the impact of the innovative interventions. This one-year capitalisation activity on how to monitor and evaluate innovation will contribute to the existing knowledge on sustainable urban development and to future activities of capacity building for urban practitioners with concrete and real examples.

Barcelona, Utrecht, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Vienna, Athens, Szeged, Aveiro, Brussels, Helsinki and Paris’ experiences have been identified as the most promising approaches among ongoing UIA projects.

On 10 June, cities attended a first UIA Workshop on how monitoring and evaluation can support innovative interventions. This energising meeting aimed at learning and sharing cities’ knowledge on monitoring and evaluation in UIA projects; and at gathering details of their respective evaluation approaches.

Innovative projects are not regular projects: innovation has indeed its own dynamic and is particularly exposed to failure, which makes measuring the projects’ impact even more challenging. With innovation, there is a need to be open to the unexpected changes, to adjust and to bring other results than the ones anticipated.  

Indeed, as enhanced by some of UIA projects, unexpected events such as the ongoing sanitary crisis and the general lockdown have put the monitoring and evaluation challenges into an even more accurate and vivid perspective: how to measure the effect of the project taking into account the consequences of unexpected events? This is also the reason why evaluation requires being participative: planning it from the very start with the partners and the beneficiaries is a must.

Don’t look for consensus but for different opinions to see what can be learned and addressed from them. Jagora Gregulska, Ecorys

In addition, as innovation never occurs alone but always in a specific context, a ‘system thinking’ is central when evaluating innovative activities: look at the boundaries - what is in and what is out, how deep we go?; perspectives - how to account? what to do with them?; and interrelationships - understanding why and how they interact?


Discussions with UIA cities also confirmed the following elements when evaluating innovative solutions:

  • Need for flexible approaches;
  • Making use of data in an efficient way for evaluation;
  • Involving partners to evaluate the relevant aspects of the interventions;
  • Looking at impact in a longer timeframe on evaluation to bring more credibility to the results achieved and measure them in the long term.

Next step of the capitalisation activity on monitoring and evaluation is the hearing of the 11 projects identified through the desk research. A final toolkit on monitoring and evaluating innovative projects will also be produced, together with a dedicated capacity building activity end of 2020. Stay tuned to the UIA #KnowledgeLab and our social media platforms - @UIA_Initiative for updates, results and findings. Learn more about the methodology for impact assessment implemented by four projects from Call 1 addressing the topic of the integration of migrants and refugees and read Antwerp Curant project second Zoom-in here.

Look at the interviews of project managers from Antwerp, Athens, Aveiro, Paris and Rotterdam about UIA innovative solutions implemented in their cities.

For more information, please contact Iraklis Stamos,


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