This is the second of three teaching collections on Discovering What Works in the field of social change. The stories below are about the "rapid results" strategy developed in 2007 to catalyze and accelerate scalable solutions to critical social problems.
Rapid Results Initiatives are 100-day challenges targeted at the community level. Developed by the Rapid Results Institute, these social change projects strive to inspire communities by helping them to find the confidence, leadership, and motivation to achieve their goals in sustainable ways.
The articles by Tina Rosenberg introduce us to the Rapid Result Initiatives, explaining the benefits—and challenges—of trying to make long-lasting social change occur on a deadline. In David Bornstein’s article, we see an evaluation of the Rapid Result methodology applied to the problem of homelessness in the United States. After reading these articles, be sure to consider the discussion questions attached to this teaching collection. Can you apply what you’ve learned here to social change strategies in your community?
Click here for part three of the Discovering What Works teaching collection
- After reading the stories by Tina Rosenberg in this collection, how would you evaluate the methodology and the goals of the Rapid Response approach? Is the 100-day deadline reasonable? Is solving the problem the goal? Explain.
- After reading David Bornstein’s story about the issue of homelessness, evaluate whether the application of the 100-day model has worked. Why or why not? What factors does Bornstein identify?
- Take a look at the Rapid Results website below. Could this strategy be used to implement local-level solutions to other social issues, such as climate change? If so, why do you think that hasn't been done; or has it?
- Identify a social issue that hasn’t been discussed in this collection. Then, create a collection and select at least 4 (or more) stories from the Solution’s Story Tracker that relate to your topic. Can you identify the Success Factors that are working to create lasting social change?
- Think of a social or environmental challenge in your own community, or on your own college campus. Would a 100-day challenge be an effective strategy for catalyzing action to solve this problem?
- Journalism is a collaborative practice: reporters are writing for their community, but they also depend on community members as sources for information. Indeed, the very purpose of journalism, according to the American Press Institute, is to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments. With that in mind, SJN wants to help connect news readers and journalists. Beside the name of the journalist on any of our story pages or the results page of the Solutions Story Tracker, you’ll find a Twitter icon that will link you directly to the journalists profile. Tweet at them with questions or compliments about their piece - you might be surprised by how much writers want to engage with their audiences! Don’t forget to tag us too (@soljourno) and use the hashtag #journalistintheclassroom if you are reading as part of an academic assignment.
- As Tina Rosenberg explains, the approach of setting a 100 day deadline helps to motivate communities. A Rapid Results facilitator meets with a group to help them identify a goal, coaching them, and setting them into action. The point is to make a concerted effort in 100 days, because it gives a manageable time frame. Although lasting change doesn’t occur in only 100 days, it teaches a community the skills and gives them the confidence to move forward and continue initiatives they’ve started once they’ve begun to overcome the initial hurdles.
- Bornstein argues that the 100 day model has led to measurable results in the cities that have picked up the challenge. In particular he identifies five keys to success in using this methodology to address homelessness: gathering data to help break down goals into a manageable pieces; humanizing the data by using volunteers to perform outreach campaigns; prioritizing those who are most vulnerable; accepting even small improvements and enrolling other agencies and actors; spreading the knowledge and helping these ideas reach other communities.
- The approach has worked for housing in the US, but the Rapid Results team has worked in over 20 countries on a variety of issues. To identify other areas where the approach might prove beneficial, you may wish to engage with our collections on addressing Climate Change and on the UN’s Global Goals.
- Answers will vary—for more on creating collections, click here. For more on Success Factors, click here.
- Answers will vary, encourage your students to get involved in social change!