Episode 26: Being Human Together

We’ve mentioned it in passing in multiple episodes, but today we go into a deep dive on the Evaluation for Social Change and Transformational Learning program (course? certificate?) offered through Simon Fraser University. Joining us in this conversation are Kim van der Woerd (also our first repeat guest!), Billie Joe Rogers, and Sofia Vitalis from Reciprocal Consulting to share their perspectives as designers and instructors in the program’s first year. We talk about personal and social transformations, the intertwining of evaluation and leadership, the weaponization of data, and the importance of saying hello to a problem before you can say goodbye to it.

Episode 25: Makin’ It in Evaluation

Grab your favourite art supplies and summon up your creative muse! In this episode, we’re joined by Andy Johnson, the other co-founder of Creative Evaluation & Engagement (along with his wife, Nora Murphy Johnson, who joined us a few episodes back to talk about evaluating from the heart) to talk about arts-based evaluation and bringing creativity into our evaluation practice. We learn about how Andy has brought poetry, theatre, kinetic sculpture and more into his evaluation methodology, how being a novelist helps him and his clients understand and work in complexity, the difference between prototyping and rehearsal, why evaluators need to channel our inner MacGyvers, and how an attention to arts, creativity, and the whole person can help us move evaluation toward equity and justice.

Episode 24: Focusing on Principles with MQP

In this episode, Carolyn and Brian are joined by Michael Quinn Patton for a deep dive into principles-focused evaluation (PFE). Despite some technical glitches en route, we persisted to discuss the relation of PFE to social innovation, examples of how principles are being used, the role of reflection in PFE, and how our grad school statistics class would be different if we took it today.

Episode 23: Spirals Within Spirals

Rita Fierro (of Fierro Consulting LLC and DrRitaWrites.com), a multifaceted practitioner of evaluation and facilitation, joins Brian and Carolyn on a deep exploration of the fractal nature of social transformation, trauma and healing, and how our evaluation practices can weave through these complex spaces. From the pursuit of “beloved community” to how we handle our own healing work to working with leaders and being leaders ourselves to what stories we tell and want to be telling to vicarious trauma in evaluation work to what it means to embrace our emotions without letting them drive, we cover it all.

Episode 22 – Profound Meanderings

In theory, this episode was a chance for us to review how we’re doing with our intentions for 2019. And we get there, we promise! En route, we discuss what comes after March Madness, Carolyn’s inability to unsubscribe from email lists, Brian’s allergic reaction to the SMART acronym, and crises singular and collective. We also get a (non-) update from Brian on the Year of the Trombone and Carolyn hosts a TED talk partway through. Plus, an #evalmemes challenge for our listeners!

Episode 21: Evaluating From The Heart

In this episode, we’re joined by Nora Murphy Johnson, co-founder of Creative Evaluation, which focuses on evaluation for truth, beauty, and justice. In a conversation about evaluation for healing and change, evaluation as sacred work and a noble calling, Nora tells us about the winding path she has taken as an evaluator, how her relationship with her husband, an artist and evaluator himself, informs the work they do together, how she’s working to bring embodiment to her practice and why it matters, and gives us a glimpse into how the first Creative Evaluation cohort is exploring new ways to understand and do evaluation. It’s a beautiful and powerful conversation filled with touching and profound insights on how we can, in Nora’s words, do “heart-centred evaluation”.

Episode 19: We’ve Only Just Begun

Kick things off right with Brian and Carolyn as we tackle one of the most deep and profound philosophical questions facing the field of evaluation—how do you even start one of these things!? Where do you begin with evaluation? What does it take to unravel the story behind the evaluation purpose? Why give people fake findings? What are the assumptions that can get you off on the wrong foot? What’s the value of a dumb question? How do we avoid the method trap? How does going slow help us go faster? And, most important of all, who’s actually going to listen all the way through that part in the middle where we got distracted talking about our respective file organization systems? Tune in and find out!

Episode 18: What’s in the Mystery Box?

In this episode, we welcome our first guest FROM THE FUTURE (by which we mean Australia), Jade Maloney, of ARTD Consultants. Jade helps us “unbox” the theme of the upcoming Australian Evaluation Society 2019 conference, “Evaluation Un-boxed”. Join us as we unpack and deconstruct evaluation in every conceivable way. Why do we call ourselves evaluators? What does that mean? Are we just misunderstood? Can evaluation be a gift? How is evaluation like a creative writing class? Is evaluation more like socks, a gym pass, or a beautiful vase? What kinds of boxes are we putting ourselves in? How many people are we going to annoy by questioning whether we should define evaluation around determining merit, worth, and significance? Should we define ourselves more by what we do, how we do it, or why we do it? How many long, pensive silences did Carolyn have to edit out of the recording after we started asking really big existential questions? And just how many past episodes are we going to reference before the episode is over?