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Informing Change’s AEA Preview

By Ellen Irie

The air is crisp and the days are shorter, which means at Informing Change, we’re working hard to prepare for AEA 2016. This year, Senior Associate Theresa Esparrago Lieu, Director Anjie Rosga and I will be traveling to Atlanta to compare notes with evaluators from around the world on what can happen when we bring design and evaluation together to support the strategic learning processes of social and environmental change-makers.

Anjie and I are facilitating three sessions this year—a small but mighty contribution to the 850-session program:

  • Anjie is facilitating a roundtable discussion on Designing Evaluations for Collaborative, Network & Collective Impact Initiatives (Session ID 2375). She’ll share some of our experiences evaluating different types of collaborative efforts, the challenges we encounter, and how we attempt to address them. We’re hopeful that attendees will bring their own experiences to the room so we can learn from one another about how to strengthen learning in collaborative efforts.
  • Anjie will also lead a demonstration session: Using the Evaluation Capacity Diagnostic Tool (Session ID 2487). We’ll show how this tool can jumpstart conversations about the importance of evaluation readiness and how to right-size and right-focus evaluation efforts to facilitate ongoing learning no matter an organization’s starting place.
  • Finally, I’m looking forward to facilitating a Think Tank on Extreme Collaboration for Evaluation Consultants (Session ID 2581). We borrow the phrase “extreme collaboration” from our colleague Deborah Meehan who has worked with nonprofits to demonstrate how collaboration—rather than competition—can result in better outcomes for everyone. At Informing Change, we routinely collaborate with other consultants, which, when done well, benefits both consultants and clients. However, evaluation consulting can be a highly competitive field, posing some challenges beyond and different from those that nonprofits face. We’d like to bring consultants together to discuss these challenges and brainstorm ways we might better come together to help move social change efforts forward.

Let us know if you’ll be at AEA 2016 this year; we’d love to see you there!