Earlier this month, nearly 130 professionals working in the social impact ecosystem gathered for the first ever ConnectUp! MN summit. Envisioned by Y. Elaine Rasmussen and her colleagues at the Social Impact Strategies Group, ConnectUp! MN brought together impact investors, social entrepreneurs, and support organizations to build relationships and advance their common interests.
Empowerment evaluation is one way an organization and their stakeholders can work with an external evaluator. With this approach, the evaluator acts as a coach or critical friend to an organization that is evaluating their own program or other efforts. With empowerment evaluation, we’re a bit more in the background, providing training, resources, and advice along the way.
This Valentine’s Day, we reflected on the love we all share: A love for evaluation! Our excitement for this important field drives us and makes us passionate about doing excellent work and building clients’ capacity for evaluation. From uplifting voices to analyzing data, we all have our different reasons for loving evaluation. Without further ado, read on as our consultants answer why they love evaluation.
Happy 2018! Many of you may have noticed a theme of mindfulness in our holiday cards—just the beginning of our year-long focus. We see mindfulness and our IG value of thoughtfulness as being closely related: to be thoughtful is to be reflective and present, in both relationships and our work. We plan to incorporate mindfulness in different ways throughout the year, including …
We love helping others see how evaluation is fun and accessible, like with participatory activities for data collection. One way to do this, especially in evaluating an event, is to do a real-time, live “pop-up” evaluation!
A year ago, we launched 2017 with a theme of creativity and collaboration. We sent our friends cards they could use for coloring, and holiday gifts that made meetings creative and collaborative. We spent the year thinking about how to collaborate better within our team and with clients.
But I have a confession: Collaboration doesn’t come naturally to me. My default is to head to my computer and jot down some notes, or email someone my ideas. I like to “task pass” or “divide and conquer”—you do this, I do that, and we all go home for dinner.
As many of you may know, The Improve Group has been undergoing a thoughtful and strategic process to restructure our organization. We have experienced sustained growth over the last few years – in terms of our clients, our projects and our Powerhouse Team. As IG has grown, we have been reflecting how we can best structure the organization to accommodate growth, and also to ensure that we reflect and practice our values – including thoughtfulness, innovation and creativity, excellence, collaboration and inclusiveness, joy, and building a better world – throughout our work.
This month we wrapped up a huge project—the Minnesota Olmstead Plan’s Quality of Life Survey. The findings of this survey will serve as a baseline against which future survey results can be compared. Over time, this will show how the State of Minnesota is doing as it works to increase autonomy and integration for people with disabilities.
The Stakman-Borlaug Center for Sustainable Plant Health (SBC) has been awarded $721,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service to fund a two-year project to conduct the Food for Progress Post-Project Sustainability Assessment.
Several of us at IG are reflecting on a great week of learning and connecting at the American Evaluation Association’s annual conference in Washington, DC earlier this month. We attend every year to learn, and to share our lessons learned, with fellow evaluators. We had so much fun meeting and learning from fellow lifelong students of evaluation! We also noticed several themes emerge:
Evaluation = learning