Consultant and FPC co-founder Matt Healey reflects on the value and power of design.
“Everything we evaluate is designed. Every evaluation we conduct is designed. Every report, graph, or figure we present is designed. In our profession, design and evaluation are woven together to support the same purpose—making the world a better place.." John Gargani, American Evaluation Association President.
To me, this is a wonderful insight and perfectly captures my feeling on the future of evaluation.
This all started in early 2016, when I began to delve more into the concept of 'design thinking'. Over the last few months I've begun to see greater potential for merging design thinking and evaluation.
This has been particularly pronounced through my work with ACT Health, where we are working together developing an evaluation plan for a project of theirs. Drawing on the principles of design thinking we have settled on an approach and methodology that (in my view) is perfectly aligned to the project.
This link between design and evaluation needs to, at least at a conceptual level, become more formalised. Recently, myself and other members of the Australasian Evaluation Society formed a Special Interest Group on Design and Evaluation to explore how this can occur.
Overall, design and evaluation really are not that different (I view it like two sides of the same coin). I think that, to date, there are great examples of projects, programs and services that have been designed and evaluated. The next step is to get these processes happening together consistently - then we'll see real magic occur!
Over the next few months FPC will be examining ways in which we can integrate design and evaluation processes and we look forward to sharing that journey with you.