Building evaluative thinking into our work - what does it look like? (Eval Thinking pt. 2)


(Stacey McDonald) #1

In my search for great resources about evaluative thinking, I ran across the New South Wales Department of Education’s evaluation resource hub and their section on evaluative thinking. They have a lot of great materials that I’m going to highlight over the coming weeks.

The first thing I wanted to share was their evaluation process flow image:

I love how NSW frames evaluative thinking as “not a stage in the process. Rather, it is the mindset and skillset that motivates and fuels activity.” Even if we’re not all evaluators, we can all adopt this mindset and be part of this work.

Is this expectation realistic? Can we constantly be curious, identify assumptions, ask questions, take time out for reflection and let that reflection guide future action? Is there a time where that’s just not feasible or even wanted?

(Andrew Taylor) #2

Is the expectation realistic? It’s a great question. The Tragically Hip wrote: “Sometimes, the faster it gets, the less you need to know.” Running a nonprofit organization is always a juggling act, and so devoting time to refection and discussion can sometimes feel like a luxury - especially if the process is going to add to a workload that is already heavy. At the same time, the Hip go on to say: “You gotta remember, the smarter it gets, the further it’s gonna go.” I think the key is to build evaluative thinking into every day work in small, manageable ways. Taking the last 10 minutes of a staff meeting to identify the most important lessons learned in the last month, for example.

(Stacey McDonald) #3

First, @AndrewTaylor amazing use of tragically hip quotes when talking about evaluation. Love it!

Second, I really like your suggestion, because it’s something very doable - doesn’t take much time and effort, and anyone can do it. I’d love to hear other ideas like this!