Innovation, again, leads to two thoughts for today:

  1. Innovation is the first one, from the first Monday video from Scott Reed : Do something. Try anything.  and
  2. the other from Harold Jarche who sites the book, Only Humans Need Apply about automation and intelligent machines.

This does relate to evaluation. Just wait. Patiently.

Where would evaluation be if evaluators didn’t question? Didn’t try anything or something? Evaluators would still be thinking separately; in silos. Would any of the current approaches be available? Would evaluation as a field be where it is today? Not if evaluators didn’t do something; try anything; innovate. Fortunately, evaluators do something.

Only humans need apply.

This is an interesting post.

Jarche presents this as a book review.

In this review, Jarche says that “…the authors identify five ways that people can adapt to automation and intelligent machines. They call it ‘stepping'”. Jarche added in parentheses the main attributes he thinks are needed for each option. The five steps are:

  1. Step-up: directing the machine-augmented world (creativity);
  2. Step-in: using machines to augment work (deep thinking);
  3. Step-aside: doing human work that machines are not suited for (empathy);
  4. Step narrowly: specializing narrowly in a field too small for augmentation (passion); and
  5. Step forward: developing new augmentation systems (curiosity).

I think all of these attributes are needed by the evaluation profession.


Evaluation would not be where it is today without creativity. Evaluators think deeply to answer difficult questions. Where would evaluators be without empathy? We certainly have passion and curiosity.

I’ve been an evaluator for a long time. I have seen the evolution of this field.

When I first came to evaluation as a graduate student, the AEA was not even a figment in any ones eye.

There were two associations, one for practice and one for research.

In 1986, they merged, making the AEA.

Bob Ingle had been organizing the joint meeting between those two organizations since 1981.

Then there were only several hundred members (200-300 maybe). Austin could hold us all, easily. (Not so, today.)

Since 1981, the field has slowly and tenaciously become a major player in the evaluation of programs, policies, personnel, products, performances, and proposals (thank you Michael Scriven   ).  As Scriven points out, evaluation as a profession has “…its own Library of Congress classification”.

There are new topical interest groups being founded. And affiliate organizations popping up all over the country. The organization, once a completely volunteer organization, is now managed by a firm specializing in such activities.

Evaluation has come a long way, baby.

The profession will continue to evolve as innovations continue.


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