Impact measurement

As described above, Gemeinsam Digital: Berlin is establishing a new process model for the implementation of digital and smart city projects. At the heart of this model is a step-by-step testing of promising approaches resulting in needs-based outcomes and faster learning effects. A well-functioning system of impact measurement is required in order to achieve these goals and compare the effects of different measures. Impact measurement is carried out at three levels, analogous to the governance model presented in Chapter Governance. [47]

The graphic shows the structure of the impact measurement.

Indicators on three levels and how they relate to each other

1) At the measure implementation level, the implementing Action Teams define criteria to measure the success of individual measures 2) At the measure selection level, selection criteria are defined to ensure that individual measures can work in line with the overall strategy 3) At the level of the learning strategy, criteria are defined in order to review and if necessary adjust the system and objectives of the strategy itself; the impact of all measures is recorded here, too
  • Level 1: Measures implementation

    GD:B strategy measures are implemented by different cross-sector Action Teams. As part of the measures planning process, each team defines its own output indicators and outcome indicators* at the outset to measure the progress of a measure.

    These indicators are based on the success factors of the Values Compass and take into account existing resources and data as well as sectoral municipal objectives. The elaboration of the measure-specific indicators follows the guidelines of the central measure Transparency and openness in the implementation of digital projects (see Chapter Measures). On this basis it is possible to make comparisons between measures, and their outcomes can be fed into further participation processes. In addition, each measure is located in at least one field of action (see Chapter Fields of Action).

    The progress of a measure is also communicated via process indicators*: these transparently show which phase of the process model (see Chapter Implementation) a measure is currently in and which interim outcomes have been achieved in the phases already completed. The interim outcomes are recorded in standardized templates and made available as shared knowledge to other Action Teams and the general public.

  • Level 2: Measure selection and Values Compass

    As part of strategy development, a Values Compass was developed by way of a participatory process which provides guidance regarding the well-being of the city and its residents. It also forms the basis for selecting measures from the Arena of Ideas to be implemented under the strategy. By prioritizing measures that are particularly well aligned with Values Compass, the aim is to ensure that the strategy can achieve its desired effects.

    Measures can be proposed for implementation in different ways by the urban community, policymakers and the administration (see Chapters Measures and Governance).[48] The Values Compass provides a shared basis from which added value and long-term potential can be assessed (urban foresight*) and subsequently reviewed on a regular basis.

    The success factors of the Values Compass contribute to the long-term benefits for the city. These are explained in detail in the Annex and briefly presented here:

    • Functional responsibilities
    • Adaptive rules and regulations
    • Sharing of tools
    • Visibility in the urban space
    • Sustainable use of resources
    • Co-determination
    • Creativity and diversity
    • Knowledge exchange and further development

    The strategy’s indicators are linked to international goals such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals [49] (SDGs).[50] In future there will be an indication of links between the measures and the individual SDGs. This link will allow comparability, thereby enabling fundamental learning

  • Level 3: Learning strategy

    GD:B addresses problems and need for change of great complexity. Classic strategy models based on fixed five-year plans, for example, reach the limits of their usefulness when confronted with the dynamics of digitalization, the climate crisis and pandemics [51]. For this reason, more flexible models of strategic management are needed that can adapt quickly to changing conditions.

    In this regard, the learning strategy level is guided by the approach of humble governance, i.e. “adaptive policymaking”. [52] The model is based on the conviction that solutions to complex problems cannot be known in advance so they should not be determined by policymakers by way of a top-down process. Instead, solutions have to be developed, tested, and negotiated with experts, the general public, and people at a greater distance from the digital sphere.

    Since this approach centers on a shared learning process, the strategy’s objectives, methods, and measures are necessarily subject to change. Accordingly, the GD:B strategy is to be evaluated based on an annual cycle with regard to its effectiveness and adapted if necessary. Participatory bodies tried and tested in the course of the strategy development process are incorporated in this process (see Chapter Governance).

... impact measurement with the example of the Smart Water measure

Application of the indicators for the implementation of measures (Level 1) based on the example of Smart Water:

Process indicators: Achievement of milestones from the project description, e.g. data needs and data sources have been identified, workshops have been conducted in pilot areas. The project is currently in the preliminary process.

Output indicator: The web-based planning tool is up and running.

Outcome indicator: Widespread use of the outcomes and planning tool prototypes by the administration (SenUMVK, SenSBW, possibly districts) after the end of the project in Berlin and beyond.

Impact indicators: Linking water infrastructure, urban green spaces, and street spaces has a measurable impact on urban climate goals such as those contained in BerlinStrategie 3.0: enhance water protection and climate impact adaptation, ensure sustainable management of the water supply, secure and improve (urban) ecological qualities. The measure also contributes positively to SDGs 6 and 12: Clean water and sanitation, sustainable consumption and production.

  • References

    Please see glossary for explanations for terms marked with an asterisk*.

    [47] The system for impact measurement and a concrete proposed procedure are provided in Annex III: Impact measurement.

    [48] The selection process is explained in detail in the Annex.

    [49] Engagement Global (2022).

    [50] The state of Berlin has published an indicator report on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Mobilität, Verbraucher- und Klimaschutz (2021a). See: Indikatorenbericht 2021 – Nachhaltige Entwicklung in Berlin. Available online:

    [51] Governance and transformation research describes these as so-called “wicked problems” that can hardly be solved by means of conventional, linear planning due to their complexity and multiple interdependencies. See: Rittel und Weber (1973)

    [52] Annala, M. et al. (2020)

Strategy Chapters

You can find these and other contents in the Gemeinsam Digital: Berlin strategy paper.

Download it here: strategy Gemeinsam Digital Berlin

Click here for the annex: annex to the strategy