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In an effort to develop health products for neglected diseases, major corporations, philanthropic organizations, governments, and social sector organizations have joined forces through multi-sector collaborations, at the center of which are innovative organizations known as product development partnerships (PDPs). A detailed review of the current PDP landscape reveals the need for a new framework for measuring performance that can help PDPs and donors link their strategic planning to performance measurement and more clearly communicate their progress.

Top Takeaways

  1. In 2007, the state of practice in PDP performance measurement lacked structure and comprehensiveness, with donors varying greatly in the scope and rigor of performance oversight, and PDPs differing considerably in how they measured individual activities, reported measurement priorities, and articulated their metrics.
  2. A new performance measurement framework with four areas of performance—R&D to commercialization, organizational strength, enabling environment, and health impact—provides structure, reflects the challenging reality of PDPs’ efforts to bring new technologies to bear, and allows for both field-wide applicability and individual PDP customization.
  3. Donors and PDPs should establish a “performance measurement partnership” to improve the value of donor-sponsored evaluations and internal management reviews by PDPs. Such a new performance measurement relationship would seek to build on pre-investment assessments and periodic business planning efforts, complement internal performance monitoring processes, enhance insight generation, and enable shared responsibility for achieving results.
To support PDPs, a common performance framework and process needs to represent a diversity of objectives and yet be specific enough to provide guidance to plan work better, improve implementation, and track progress towards goals.