Harnessing creativity for evaluation

Session Number: 2307
Track: Collaborative, Participatory & Empowerment Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: adaptive management, adult learning, Creative Capacity, design thinking, Developmental Evaluation, Evaluative Thinking, inclusiveness, organisational learning, participatory evaluation, Systems Thinking, video
Session Chair: Rebecca Herrington [Developmental Evaluator - Social Impact]
Presenter 1: Rebecca Herrington [Developmental Evaluator - Social Impact]
Presenter 2: Katherine E Haugh [Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning Specialist]
Presenter 3: Ratiba Cherif [Founder - The ToC Creative LLC]
Time: Nov 02, 2018 (04:30 PM - 05:30 PM)
Room: CC - 13

Abstract 1 Title: Human-Centered Design
Presentation Abstract 1:

Human Centered Design (also referred to as design thinking) is an approach to solving complex problems by identifying the key stakeholders and designing an actionable solution based on their input. This approach was established to move beyond the linear, problem-solution model, and to recognize the complex variables that often contribute to effective solutions. Evaluators often operate in dynamic, challenging contexts, evaluating programs that have varying impacts on a range of stakeholders. Such evaluations can benefit from an adaptive, participatory, inclusive, and creative approach to understanding the effectiveness of the intervention being evaluated. Human-centered design can be leveraged in monitoring, evaluation and learning design and implementation processes to improve the utilization-focus of the efforts and ground ‘truths’ unearthed through evaluative efforts in beneficiary realities. This type of approach ensures those being impacted have data that is valuable to them and can improve the interconnectedness between beneficiary-implementer-donor relationships for better complex programming.


Abstract 2 Title: Visual note-taking
Presentation Abstract 2:

In many ways, drawing is a natural process for thinking, exploring ideas, and learning. It’s a powerful way to convey complex or potentially confusing information. It’s also about using tools -like pen and paper- to externalize your internal thinking processes, making them more clear, explicit and actionable. When used in the evaluation context, visual note-taking can be a powerful skill for developing new ideas and designs, communicating those ideas effectively, and collaborating with others to make them happen. Visual note-taking is a tool that evaluators can use to strengthen their ability to communicate evaluation findings and facilitate reflection on evaluation data, especially when concepts are complex and difficult to measure. Recognizing visual patterns is built into us. You don’t need to be an artist to be an effective visual note-taker. Visual note-taking is a powerful skill for evaluators looking to learn more about how to use visuals to strengthen the use and application of their evaluation work.


Abstract 3 Title: Reflection cards
Presentation Abstract 3:

Interventions are implemented in increasingly complex and dynamic environments which requires creative ways to infuse programming with evaluative thinking. Furthermore, funding mechanisms, programmatic realities, “projectization” of interventions and unrealistic timelines make it hard for practitioners to carve out the time for intentional learning and reflective practice that supports programmatic adaptations. The ToC Creative imagined an evaluative thinking tool, in the form of a deck of cards, that could fill part of  this gap. Reflection cards are pocket-sized thinking-kits. They frame reflection, generate discussions and foster collaboration to take stock of successes and failures and prepare for evaluations. The cards, are able to tease out tacit knowledge by relying primarily on users’ experience and wisdom. They offer the prompting necessary to challenge assumptions, articulate pathways to change and offer an opportunity for a team to align on the Why, the How and the So What of their work.


Abstract 4 Title: Participatory Video
Presentation Abstract 4:

Participatory media approach to evaluation and learning amplifies the voices of participants and helps organisations to better understand and improve their programmes. Participatory video puts programme participants at the center making sure their truth about what works and what doesn’t in a programme and an area of intervention is heard. Most evaluations focused mostly in the knowledge and truth told by staff, experts and the more powerful stakeholders that take design decisions for a programme. Making sure that those we are there to serve have a way to tell their truth in their own way and not as mere respondents of surveys is crucial for improving programmatic design, effectiveness and evidence-based programming.


Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Human-Centered Design, visual note-taking, reflection cards, and participatory video are just four approaches that lean into creativity and can help get problems unstuck and tackle sensitive issues by taking practitioners out of their element and triggering different parts of the brain (seeing, touching, hearing, saying). These approaches offer a space for sharing of diverse perspectives and thereby catalyze innovation. They are intrinsically participatory and foster collaboration giving a sense of empowerment and increasing engagement. The panel will walk through these four creative approaches and show how creativity can be useful to evaluation and to speaking truth to power. The facilitator, who has used all four approaches in her evaluation practice, will then elicit a discussion from the panel on use cases, challenges to application, creating a culture of creativity, and other aspects of harnessing creativity for evaluation.