publication Apr 2019
Transitions and Transformations for Evaluation’s Role in Philanthropy
Building from an exploration of the transitions that have shaped evaluation and learning in philanthropy over the last 30 years, the 2019 Evaluation Roundtable convening focused on the forces that will shape it in the future and what they mean for our work. These forces will have multiple places of origin—the philanthropic sector, our own organizations, and our broader context.
publication Mar 2019
No Royal Road: Finding and Following the Natural Pathways in Advocacy Evaluation
As efforts at driving change become more diffuse, involve more actors, and have more transformational goals, we need a radically different approach to thinking about and assessing effective advocacy. Clear answers, certain judgments, and simple tools won't result in good representations of reality. This brief proposes ideas for adjusting how we approach advocacy monitoring, evaluation, and learning.
insight Jun 2018
5-A-Day: Learning By Force of Habit
Establishing a learning organization or culture is such a big goal that it can overwhelm our ability to act on it. This piece, published on Medium, explores how building learning habits into common routines makes it more manageable, and creates small wins that can lead to big change. Focusing on habits ensures that learning is not a separate activity, but rather is integrated into our day-to-day work.
insight Jun 2018
Precipitating Events and Rewards in Making a Habit of Learning
Better habits around learning are critical to improving philanthropic practice. This piece looks at what needs to happen before and after habit change to make a new way of working stick.
insight May 2018
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: The Consequences of Small Failures in Learning
It was the worst U.S. maritime disaster in three decades, involving an experienced captain with a reputation for safety. This article, published on Medium, explains went wrong and what it can teach us about the often-overlooked factors that affect our learning and decisions.
publication Jan 2018
Addendum to On the Other Side of Complexity: The McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program
This addendum makes clarifications to the teaching case of The McKnight Foundation's Collaborative Crop Research Program and its evaluation. It adds detail on the program's developmental evaluation.
publication Jan 2018
Evaluation Coaching: Light Up Your Client’s Expertise
The practice of coaching is gaining momentum in the evaluation profession, and more evaluators are including it in their skill set. This brief introduces the use of coaching in evaluation capacity building, and provides principles and three tools for integrating coaching into evaluation practice.
publication Dec 2017
Evaluating Coalitions and Networks: Frameworks, Needs, and Opportunities
An impressive array of approaches, frameworks, and tools have been developed to evaluate coalitions and networks. This brief critically examines these resources, and points to challenges and opportunities that remain in efforts to assess their effectiveness and impact.
publication Nov 2017
Contribution Analysis in Policy Work: Assessing Advocacy’s Influence
How do we know what difference advocacy really makes? This brief explores the methodological application of contribution analysis, a non-experimental impact evaluation method, to advocacy and offers guidance for evaluators considering this approach.
presentation Sep 2017
Better, Faster, Results – Supporting Learning for Multiple Audiences
How can foundations build an approach that is connected to robust data and information and supports the many learning needs of multiple actors? This presentation for the 2017 Evaluation Roundtable convening is on strategies for supporting learning in philanthropy. It presents questions, challenges, and implications for foundation practice.
publication Sep 2017
On the Other Side of Complexity: The McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program
Under the direction of a new president, The McKnight Foundation embarked on a process to imbue learning at every level of one of its signature international programs: the Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP). This teaching case explores the creation, implementation, and ongoing refinement of an evaluation and learning approach for CCRP from 2008 to 2017.
insight Jul 2017
FaceTime, Open Workspace, and Electronic Calendars are a Few of My Least Favorite Things: Learning and the Way We Work
Supporting learning is about much more than facilitation and what happens at learning-focused events or meetings. We have to expand our thinking about what it takes to support effective learning in philanthropy. This article on Medium explores some unexpected sources, such as time management, physical and virtual space, and technology.