Around the Institute

The Substance of the Work

May 2, 2014

Productive Anxiety?

Diana Scearce of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation shared some brief and provocative (and you know we just love brief and provocative) thoughts about promoting learning recently in the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog. In her two first years at the Foundation, Scearce writes, she is learning how her colleagues learn and, more importantly, unlearn. Check out her reflections on the value of what she calls “productive anxiety.”

Developmental Evaluation Week!

The American Evaluation Association (AEA)’s daily blog, AEA365, is (as blog-writers are asked to say) a “Rad Resource.” (Yeah, we know). Michael Quinn Patton kicked off this week’s postings on a topic he named long ago and then explored in his 2010 book, Developmental Evaluation. MQP frequently meets evaluators (like your pals at APEP) who had been doing DE but didn’t know “that was a thing.” If your practice includes assessing fast-changing, complex, emergent processes — and your evaluation approach tries to evolve and emerge to match — then this week’s AEA365 is for you!

The Substance of the Work

At APEP, we like to think that what we know about evaluation and social change — while it ain’t much — will prepare us nicely, no matter what policy issue or social condition our clients seek to influence. But sometimes, we have to admit the limits of that notion. This week, understanding the substance of the work involved poring over Peruvian government documents — and asking colleagues — to help us understand the divergence between adolescent fertility rates and adolescent pregnancy rates in Peru. No links to cute tools and shortcuts for this one. And that’s the point.