Around the Institute

A Common Language in the Evaluation Field?

September 26, 2013

A Common Language

Have you downloaded your Evaluation Glossary Mobile App yet?  In his recent AEA365 post, independent evaluator Kyle Hutchinson wrote about this and other resources designed to help us use a common evaluation terminology.  In fact, at last year’s AEA conference, Tayo Fabusuyi and our own David Devlin-Foltz led a “brown bag idea exchange” session on the possibility of having consistent standards and nomenclature in the evaluation field.  Alas, there was no consensus c oming out of that meeting.  But we can dream, no?

Advocacy Resource Center 

Three weeks ago, we told you about a USAID-sponsored webinar on the “Art of Advocacy.”  If you missed it, be sure to check out the presentation deck and a recording of the webinar discussion.  We tip our hat to USAID for devoting time and significant effort to launching its digital Advocacy Resource Center to encourage sharing and learning among advocates, evaluators and others.  But this idea won’t work unless folks sign up to join the platform, use the resources, and upload docs that may help others better navigate the tricky waters of advocacy.  Try it and let USAID know how they may further improve the platform!      

Forgetting Something?

This Stanford Social Innovation Review blog post outlines some five stages in the process of scaling social innovation. What’s missing?  Evaluation and continuous learning!  We think the beginning of a scaling process, when the organization is re-thinking its role and future, is a great time to introduce an evaluation component and define a few key learning questions.  From that point on, an evaluation can help track if the organizational changes are producing the desired outcomes.  Not to mention, incorporating an evaluation piece at this early stage can facilitate an ongoing conversation among staff about the progress (or lack of progress) made along the way. ¡Viva la evaluación!