Around the Institute

Duck Tales, Data and MDGs

July 20, 2012

If It Looks Like A Duck, Swims Like a Duck, and Quacks Like a Duck…
Is it a duck?  Well, not necessarily. That’s what we tell clients trying to understand how events or trips they’ve hosted potentially influence participants. In our experience, even if participants claim that an event (like, say, the TechSoup Global Summit) led them to act in a specific way or think about a topic differently, you frankly never know if that’s really the case. There’s just so much going on besides any one event. As evaluators, we urge clients to define the event’s contribution to the future actions of participants. Lesson? Skepticism is a good thing. And ducks are pretty cool too.
Making Sense of All That Data
A few weeks ago, the Ford Foundation hosted a conference on maximizing the use of data for social change which it called “Change by Design.” A major theme here, one near and dear to us, is this: data is most useful when it’s combined with the right message in a way that both—the words and the numbers—connect with your audience. And if it sticks with them after they get up and leave, even better. So grab a cup of coffee this morning and check out a few conference sessions here. Happy viewing!

Collecting / Connecting / Committing
It’s no secret that the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs for short, are supposed to be met by 2015. And it’s no secret that progress is…uneven. Regardless, it’s likely that folks from around the world will get together in 2015 to develop a list of new goals (and perhaps include some old ones) that we can all work toward. Jamie Drummond, though, has a radical(ly awesome) suggestion: why not involve everyone in this process? He proposes we “crowdsource” ideas from everyone through social media. A democratic, global dialogue…that’s music to our ears.