I read. A lot.
I also blog. Weekly, unless I’m not in the office.
This past week I read (again) Harold Jarche’s blog. He posts periodically on interesting social media finds. Some of these finds are relevant to evaluation (even if they are not framed that way). His post on October 17 included a post from Kate Pinner called Half-baked ideas (She is found on twitter @kmpinner ). She says, “Just because you know how to do something doesn’t mean you should: It’s rewarding to give other people a chance to shine.”
Pinner’s comment is related to a thought I’ve been mulling for some time now (a couple of years, actually). That is the whole idea of “doing as.”
David Fetterman talks about empowerment evaluation (a model) that allows evaluators to (in my understanding) give evaluation away, to work themselves out of a job. Wikipedia (a quick and easy resource) says that empowerment evaluation is “…designed to help communities monitor and evaluate their own performance. It is used in comprehensive community initiatives as well as small-scale settings and is designed to help groups accomplish their goals.” Many programs are done in small scale settings by (small) groups. Fetterman has a good idea; I don’t think he goes far enough, though certainly farther than the “doing to” one often sees with evaluation. (Evaluators are experts so listen to them.) Empowerment evaluation sounds a lot like “doing with”. Pinner says that maybe the other person has a good idea and that good idea needs to be used. Pinner’s statement sounds like it could fit in empowerment evaluation.
New and related topic.
I just finished watching a TedTalk by Susan Cain about the “Power of the Introvert”. She advocates that three activities to support introverts:
- Stop the madness for constant group work at schools and work;
- Go into the wilderness; and
- Take a good look at what is inside your “suitcase”–and take them/it out
I’m sure you are wondering how this introvert stuff ties in to the evaluation stuff I started with. Pinner says, “Creativity needs space: If you provide someone the solution they never really have a chance to think outside the box and innovate.” The someone may need to “go into the wilderness” of innovation. The someone may need to work alone and unpack their suitcase. (I know I do.) That is were “doing as” comes into play. If you as an evaluator work at being one of the group with whom you are doing the evaluation (although you may never actually BE one of the group because of the cultural divide), you can allow people to do the above three things. It is a “emptying the suitcase” opportunity. It allows creativity to exist.