Who actually cares about evaluation? Who is it for? Why do they care?

Show me the Change
Complexity and the Art of Evaluation – Reporting Sheet

Topic: Who actually cares about evaluation? Who is for? Why do they care?

Leader: Damien Sweeney

Participants: Jonathon Russel, Greg Bruce, Mark Butz, Julian Denler, Sarah Bartlett, Candyce Presland, Mike Rowell, Rob Catchlove, and more…

Key Points:

•    Different people care about different aspects of evaluation. This can be about accountability and/or learnings. It is important for funders to justify expenditure (in case someone asks about the project).
•    It is important to include mistakes/lessons/failures, to have a balanced report. Lessons need to be carefully phrased so as not to “surprise” or “shock” or “bring fear”.
•    An independent evaluation can bring objectivity, and help to find unexpected consequences.
•    Evaluation reports (especially executive summaries) are useful in review literature to design projects, but often they do not have a summary and clearly outline what worked and what did not.
•    Safe-matching communication (collective social learning) offers a methodology for evaluation.
•    Remember:
1.    Evaluation is audience specific. Eg, you may only need a 5 minute video/snapshot for a councillor
2.    Do not separate evaluation from project management! Use it as a tool to keep learning along the journey
•    What is needed:
•    A forum/website only evaluation reports that showcase failure
•    Easily accessible evaluation reports for collective learning (not hidden on funder’s shelf)
•    Risk – the media can latch on to bad news and stifle creativity (and lead to unbalanced reporting
•    Remaining Question – “has accountability gone too far?”

| May 12th, 2010 | Posted in Open Space Session |

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