Glossary of Terms

A/B illusion

The human tendency to focus on the risk, uncertainty and power asymmetries of running a test that compares A to B, while ignoring those factors when A is simply imposed by itself.

A/B testing

An experiment where two or more variants of a page are shown to users at random, and statistical analysis is used to determine which variation performs better for a given conversion goal.

Accelerated design workshop

A design workshop that takes participants through the entire human-centered design process from Inspiration to Ideation and Implementation.

Accelerated visioning

Running through creative possibilities quickly and iteratively to create a design and architectural project framework.

Access (equity)

The notion that people have the same resources and support necessary for individuals to succeed and benefit from new opportunities.


Obligation to demonstrate what has been achieved in compliance with agreed rules and standards. This may require a careful, legally defensible demonstration that work is consistent with the contract.

Action research

Research initiated to solve an immediate problem or a reflective process of progressive problem solving led by individuals working with others in teams or as part of a “community of practice” to improve the way they address issues and solve problems.


A specific action or process undertaken over a specific period of time by an organization to convert resources to products or services to achieve results. Related term: Project.


Individuals or group with an interest in the system, including other external entities and organizations.


An individual’s ability, skill, disposition, willingness, and/or motivation to change or fit a different task, social, or environmental features.


A user’s ability to search, access, and use a service.
Analogy – capacity for analogy
The ability to decontextualize problems to conceive novel interpretations and new pathways.


The process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts in order to examine how it is constructed, works, or interacts to help determine the reason for the results observed.

Anecdotal Evidence

Non-systematic qualitative information based on stories about real events.


An overall assessment of the relevance, feasibility and potential sustainability of an intervention or an activity prior to a decision of funding.


A synonym for evaluation.


based community development
Focuses on the strengths and capacities of local communities. It rests on the conviction that sustainable development emerges from within a community, not from outside, by mobilizing and building upon local resources.

Asset-based design

A methodology for the sustainable development of communities based on their strengths and potentials. It involves assessing the resources, skills, and experience available in a community; organizing the community around issues that move its members into action; and then determining and taking appropriate action.


A proposition that is taken for granted, as if it were true. For project management, assumptions are hypotheses about causal linkages or factors that could affect the progress or success of an intervention.


Ascribing a causal link between observed changes and a specific intervention(s) or program, taking into account the effects of other interventions and possible confounding factors.


The systematic examination of records and the investigation of other evidence to determine the propriety, compliance, and adequacy of programs, systems, and operations.