Glossary of Terms

Ideation phase:

The third stage of the design thinking process that focuses on generating a broad set of ideas on a given topic, with no attempt to judge or evaluate them. It represents a process of “going wide” in terms of concepts and outcomes.

Identify local best practices:

Identifying the most effective method based on the proper situational context.


A result or effect that is caused by or attributable to a project or program. Impact is often used to refer to higher-level effects of a program that occur in the medium or long term and can be intended or unintended and positive or negative.

Impact Design:

Brings together social, environmental, humanitarian, sustainable, human-centered, public-interest, and other related design disciplines focused on creating positive change and lasting impact.

Impact Evaluation:

A systematic study of the change that can be attributed to a particular intervention, such as a project, program or policy. It involves the collection of baseline data for both an intervention group and a comparison or control group as well as a second round of data collection after the intervention, some times even years later.

Impact Investing:

Investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.


To carry out, execute, or practice of a plan, method, or any design, idea, model, specification, standard or policy for doing something.

Implement in different settings:

To carry out a design, idea, or model in different practices.

Implementation partners:

Organizations with a local network and know-how about verticals on the local market.

Implementation phase:

The final stage of the design thinking process that involves bringing the insights from the inspiration phase and the concepts from the ideation phase to life into prototyping, testing and final delivery.

Implementation science:

The study of methods and strategies to promote the uptake of interventions that have proven effective into routine practice, with the aim of improving population health.


To achieve or produce something better.

Improvement science:

All aspects of research that investigates improvement strategies in healthcare, systems, safety, and policy.

Independent Evaluation:

An evaluation carried out by entities and persons not directly involved in the design or implementation of a project or program. It is characterized by full access to information and by full autonomy in carrying out investigations and reporting findings.

Independent Variable:

A variable that may influence or predict to some degree, directly or indirectly, the dependent variable. An independent variable may be able to be manipulated by the researcher (for example, the introduction of an intervention in a program) or it may be a factor that cannot be manipulated (for example, the age of beneficiaries).

In-depth qualitative interview:

An interview format that aim is to obtain a more detailed, rich understanding of the topic of interest. They usually comprise an ethnographic approach and complement participant observation or action research methods.


Quantitative or qualitative variable that provides reliable means to measure a particular phenomenon or attribute.


A large amount of something that moves or is transferred into a place.


The process of identifying and developing a solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, or sustainable than present solutions. This can include a completely new idea or a new way of applying an existing solution in a different context.

In-person / telephone interview:

A structured, flexible, and adaptable method that is based on personal interaction and can be controlled within the survey environment. Telephone interview is a fast and low-cost method of data gathering.


Resources provided for program implementation. Examples are money, staff, time, facilities, equipment, etc.

Insiders and outsiders:

Local communities are composed of residents, associations, businesses, and institutions. Local residents are considered insides with everyone else being an outsider.


Patterns that emerge from a collection of observations about the underlying motivations that drive people’s actions.

Inspiration phase:

The first stage in the design thinking process that clearly sets up the project need to be covered during following stages. This includes defining the challenge, planning the research methods and project plan.

Intelligence gathering

Collecting and analyzing data, processing it, and preparing detailed reports that include suggested operations based on that intelligence.

Interactive teaching approach:

A method that allows sharing information, receiving feedback, solving together the arising problems, simulating the educational situations, evaluating one’s own behavior and the actions of other participants, diving into the real atmosphere of business cooperation in solving problematic issues.

Internal Evaluation:

Evaluation conducted by those who are implementing and/or managing the intervention or program. Related term: self-evaluation.

Internal Validity:

The degree to which conclusions about causal linkages are appropriately supported by the evidence collected.

Intervening Variable:

A variable that occurs in a causal pathway from an independent to a dependent variable. It causes variation in the dependent variable, and itself is caused to vary by the independent variable.


An action or entity that is introduced into a system to achieve some result. In the program evaluation context, an intervention refers to an activity, project or program that is introduced or changed (amended, expanded, etc).

Intervention tracking:

To collect and analyze data to determine whether an intervention was successful, and monitor efforts to improve outcomes.

Interview guide:

A list of questions or issues to be explored during the interview. It guides what to ask about, in what sequence, how to pose questions, and how to pose follow-ups.


A repeated process of quickly implementing designs or prototypes, gathering feedback and refining the design. It is intended to get things in front of clients, customers and users in order to rapidly improve designs with real world testing.