The ITO model
The ITO model has emerged from a research program in which John Smyrk has been involved for the past fourteen years. This work began in the early 90s when he led a project commissioned by the Australian federal government to develop a set of measures that could be used to gauge the performance of the state road authorities and the national road system.
This was one of a series of similar exercises that formed part of the first stage of work in a major program of national microeconomic reform.
One of the first issues faced when assembling performance measures for any purpose is that of distinguishing between outcomes and outputs. (The first of two papers provided below discusses how this particular issue arises). Our research at that time revealed considerable confusion, inconsistency, ambiguity and lack of rigour in much of what had been written on this topic.
In response to this, John Smyrk developed the ITO (Input-Transform-Outcome) model which attempts to offer a rigorous framework for distinguishing between inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes—as well as explaining the nature of the causal links amongst those concepts.
Initially the ITO model was concerned with operational processes—but it soon became clear that it offered a useful way of thinking about projects as well.
We provide here three early conference papers that explore the ITO model from both an operational and project perspective.