Knowing Your Impact

Terry Fox’s impact was immeasurable.

Evaluation tells your innovation’s impact story to the wider world. Learn more about what you do by learning about evaluation.

Changing something requires evidence, otherwise change doesn’t exist. We only know something has changed — grown, shrunk, transformed, moved — through study (seeing before, after, and what happens in between). Evaluation is what tells that story and helps you make decisions. We profile a couple of resources from our latest newsletter that will help you think about evaluation and how we might do it differently.

The Best Evaluation Resource on the Internet

A bold claim? Yes. But I challenge anyone to find anything that highlights the breadth and depth of the evaluation field more than the incredible AEA365 blog. Every single day (yes, EVERY DAY) Sheila B. Robinson (a remarkable evaluation leader, consultant, and educator) and a dedicated team curate and produce unique content that highlights a method, tool, approach, theory, insight, or practice reflection that expands our collective understanding of what evaluation is and what impact it can have.

Why read this? Evaluation is far bigger, more nuanced and more interesting than most people realize. AEA365 provides a bite-sized piece of this big world in a digestible format every day. The blog is practical — even when focused on theory. It uses a standard format and concludes with the authors providing ‘rad resources’ to help evaluators (and innovators!) learn more.

Design-driven Evaluation

What if we viewed evaluation not as something separate from innovation, but as a part of the innovation process itself — as an innovation product and service? This is an idea that I’ve been working on and outlined in a recent post as part of developing a model for looking at evaluation through the lens of service design. The aim is to help innovators better showcase the value of their work, including the process of creating the very services, products, and policies they seek to transform. This approach incorporates evaluation methods and the use of design-oriented tools in supporting innovation work. This not just another model of developmental evaluation, it is taking the user-experience needs of innovators and their stakeholders and putting it front-and-centre. 

Why should I care? Developing new things generates far more than the end result. The impact of creating something can extend far beyond the reaches of the final product. By building a practice of innovation — the trials, discovery, failure, and success — we also build a potential platform for learning. A design-driven approach helps illustrate the full value of our innovation efforts, not just the end result.

Thanks for reading. A new issue of the Censemaking Newsletter is coming out soon. Subscribe here to get some innovation — more evaluation, design, systems thinking, psychology, and more — right to your inbox.

Cameron D. Norman

I am a designer, psychologist, educator, evaluator, and strategist focused on innovation in human systems. I'm curious about the world around me and use my role as Principal and President of Cense Ltd. as a means of channeling that curiosity into ideas, questions, and projects that contribute to a better world.

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