Around the Institute

Seeing is believing (and understanding)

December 12, 2014  • Institute Contributor

Visualize American political polarization

Our esteemed pals at the Center for Evaluation Innovation have developed an impressive systems map to help the Hewlett Foundation’s Madison Initiative better understand how to “improve the ability of Congress to address problems in ways that work for most Americans.” The Center’s Julia Coffman and Tanya Beer explain why they chose a systems map, rather than a theory of change, reminding us of the unique utility of mapping. But be prepared: the map is quite an eyeful, even with the nifty guided tour. So knock back some bourbon with Senator McConnell and it may all make sense.


Visualize science, policy, and politics: it’s all so reasonable…

One of your APEP correspondents was apparently the only US NGO policy wonky guy in Lima this past week who was not there for the climate talks. But all the science and policy talk got us thinking about this excellent bit of commentary on how scientists can engage with policymakers – and how they are spoze to inform policymaking in what is apparently a parallel universe far, far away where budgets are rational and data-driven.


Visualize advocacy

Rhonda Schlangen and Jim Coe, writing in the estimable BetterEvaluation blog, help us visualize what’s easy to miss in an advocacy effort: all the good stuff. They note: “In value terms, advocacy is an iceberg. The most significant benefits are often submerged: difficult to measure, to monetise and sometimes even to see.” We value such cautions against focusing on what is most easily measured. Check out their full paper to, um, visualize more.