Econometrica’s Learning & Diffusion Group developed the Focus First Model based on our rich experience supporting and implementing public health programs. The Model is a flexible framework designed to aid program operators in navigating any aspect of a program or organization’s operations. The Model, designed primarily for public health programming, drives progress toward long-term objectives through intermediate goals that maximize outcomes for a clearly defined target audience. The Focus First Model (Figure 1) is built on our intuitive four-step management principle:

  • People motivate culture…
    • culture motivates process…
      • process motivates outcomes…
        • outcomes motivate people.

Developing a positive organizational culture is crucial to overall program success, as it forms the backbone of the processes that drive program operations and influence outcomes—the people executing the program establish and perpetuate its culture. As outcomes are realized (positive or otherwise), the program staff is motivated to continually augment the culture, improve processes, and enhance outcomes.

The Model’s flexible core (Figure 2) defines a program’s immediate, short-term goals and the target audiences for those goals. Ultimately, any public health program’s focus is enhancing the quality of life for a target audience, but the immediate focus of a program changes along the way. Our Model is useful in any of these intermediate focus areas. For example, the Model may be applied to recruit program participants, engage community partners, sustain program operations, or improve program performance.

Successful implementation of the full Model (Figure 3) relies on a practice we call “Flipping the Narrative,” or adopting a paradigm in which team members focus first on the perspective of the target audience and then on the benefits to the program. When working toward any defined goal, the Focus First Model promotes a culture in which what matters most to the target audience drives processes, and the audience ultimately reaps the positive outcomes. The Model emphasizes two-way accountability and recognizes the importance of symbiotic partnerships. That is, a program’s culture must be built from people who are motivated to meet the needs of the target audience while still holding them accountable to meet the expectations of the program. As team members embrace a culture centered on mutually beneficial relationships, outcomes will show measurable improvements in the areas that matter most to the target audience.

To learn more about Econometrica’s Focus First Model and to see an example of the model in action, check out the latest addition to our Blue Papers series.

Figure 1: Focus First’s Foundation

Figure 2: Focus First’s Flexible Core

Figure 3: The Focus First Model

Read Applications of Econometrica's Focus First Model

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