A gap in policy evaluation. On day 2 of the conference, John Owen, our keynote speaker, gave us a comprehensive overview of the territory of evaluation thinking and practice in Australasia. He did some analysis of articles in the AES journal over the last few years and found some interesting things. The thing that stood out for me was that there was very little written on policy evaluation – it was mostly on program evaluation, and setting up evaluation systems. Fascinating given the importance of influencing policy with evaluation findings. A hole to fill?

Design and evaluation. We had an exciting first meeting of the special interest group in Design and Evaluation. About 40 interested people attended, including both the president and the president elect from the American Evaluation Association! We agreed the special interest group would look to 1) map the territory to see who was working at the intersection between evaluation and design, 2) learn more about tools and process for human-centred design so that we might use in our evaluation practice, and 3) understand more about the process of human-centred design and social innovation so that we can learn how we (as evaluators) might contribute.

Ideas were developed for how we would like to progress this special interest group included running a training course through AES plus networking events. The president of the American Evaluation Association John Gargani – shared with us how next years American Evaluation Association conference is entitled Evaluation and Design. There is also an Impact Convergence conference running the before the main conference to bring together social impact and evaluation. One additional theme they are going to look at is how we can use design thinking to maximise the influence of our evaluation findings. Neat. Exciting. 

Dr Jess Dart