Around the Institute

Be accountable. Be readable.

February 13, 2015  • David Devlin-Foltz

We Like Labs

No – not those Labs. We’re talking Accountability Lab and FeedbackLabsBlair Glencorse of Accountability Lab and David Bonbright of Keystone Accountability—and other cool people—are pushing thinking and practice about the accountability of governments and NGOs.  FeedbackLabs is all about using data to learn and improve. Check out Blair’s Quarterly Impact Calls with key constituents to hold his own group accountable. And read about how Keystone and other members of FeedbackLabs are sharing “promising new models of citizen engagement.”


Read This. Write better.

It has been reliably observed, both contemporaneously and historically, that what is reported by evaluators – both internal and external – to their clients or conveyed by evaluators to evaluands, may in some instances offer more analytical rigor than communicative vigor. Our impact and utility, it is argued, are diminished by overuse of jargon drawn from the evaluation lexicon such as “RCT,” “performance management,” “stochastic variables,” or “dashboard.” Passive voice constructions are commonly utilized, as are constructions with embedded clauses and Latinate terms that the writer may construe to communicate greater erudition. In the vast majority of cases, however, as in this one, the desired communication outcome is not achieved.  So write simply, dammit. And check out Lija Greenseid’s nifty post on the Readability Calculator.  


Social Media: Not for the Half-Fast

Here is a useful cautionary tale about the dangers of slow social media response – and a lack of commitment to the medium – from social media maven Paul Sutton. It was social media malpractice, and less good beer was consumed as a result. The horror.