STAGE 3: Test, Learn, and Iterate

Test and Iterate

At this point you should have:


As you begin to test and implement your theory of change, you will see how it’s working and get feedback.

Are people—the program’s beneficiaries, your staff, and other key actors—doing what you expected them to do? And if so, are you achieving the targets in your monitoring plan and making progress toward your ultimate outcome?

Over time you’ll get clarity on what’s working well and what’s not. You can use your findings to revise your theory of change, modify your strategy, and get closer to your goals for improving people’s lives.

Testing and Revising Your Theory of Change

Testing and iterating are ongoing processes for social entrepreneurs. You will regularly test and iterate your theory of change until you achieve your ultimate outcome.

Here are some things to consider as you move forward.





Jordan's Journey

Let’s check in with Jordan and see what she finds when testing her diabetes prevention program.


A theory of change is just a theory. It’s a hypothesis about how your actions will achieve your desired outcome. But you can never be sure until you try it out in the world.

It is common for elements of your theory of change not to go as expected. You must be alert to possible problems and ready to adjust your solution to achieve its goals.

You’ve charted a path to success. Like a GPS map that’s continually updated to account for road maintenance and construction, weather conditions, and occasional blockages by social protests, your roadmap will require constant adjustments. Used properly, it will get you out of traffic jams, help avoid accidents before they happen, and get you to your destination on time.

Now it is time to embark on your journey and use your theory of change!