The Mission Engagement Playbook

Many Headquarters (HQ) Operating Units at the Agency depend on successful engagement and productive working relationships with Missions. The objective of these partnerships is often to achieve sustained uptake with a given Mission. Sustained uptake is the transference of full ownership and valuation of an innovation, approach, or technical expertise to a Mission, such that they devote additional resources to new opportunities, establish dedicated staff responsibilities, and/or integrate the innovation into Mission priorities. 

The Uptake Developmental Evaluation (DE) in the Global Development Lab (Lab) explored the most efficient and effective ways to secure strong Mission partnerships that facilitate sustained uptake. Three evaluative efforts, 474 sources, and 1,625 unique data points yielded clear evidence on which approaches, tools, and resources work. Given the applicability of these findings across teams in the Lab, as well as to widespread Mission service delivery efforts across the Agency, this Playbook provides best practice guidance for wider Agency use based on evidence from the Uptake DE.

In implementing the Sustained Uptake DE, Headlight’s CEO Rebecca Herrington worked with seven teams in the USAID Global Development Lab (“Lab”) over 22 months (2017 – 2019) to rigorously collect, analyze, and disseminate learnings regarding the sustained uptake of innovations these teams seek to promote within and beyond USAID. Key outcomes from Ms. Herrington’s work included the development and dissemination of this utilization-focused, data-driven Mission Engagement Playbook to support the uptake of engagement best practice at the Lab and beyond. The Playbook is now mandatory reading at the Lab and is a foundational document for the creation of the Client Services working group supporting the development of the new Development, Democracy, and Innovations Bureau.

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