Through the lens

Evaluation has the power to be a lens that transforms the way we see the world. As evaluators, as people, we wear many lenses that shape what we see and how we focus our vision. Our lenses can help us to reflect on the wisdom of our elders; to refract our knowledge and learning in ways that enable us to embrace diversity in our communities; as well as to refocus us on the future and create shared visions that resonate.

Join us in 2023 as we come together to build clarity and insight, and to share our visions for the future of evaluation.

Reflect – Understanding our past to inform our future

Walking with those who know the land, we learn and remember. To continue to move forward in evaluative thinking and practice, we must reflect on and learn from our historical roots. Reflecting on the wisdom of those who have walked before us, we learn from both the elders of evaluation and the long history of rich Indigenous culture in these lands. Applying our learning in our evaluation practice we ensure that the voices of all are present in our work and ways of seeing. How can we walk with those who know the land? How do we recognise, value and share what we learn from both the elders of evaluation and the long and enduring histories of Indigenous cultures? How do Indigenous cultures enhance evaluative thinking and practice?

Refract – Adapting, growing and embracing diversity

We need to continually evolve and diversify our evaluative thinking and practice to be relevant. Adaptation is vital to ensure theory and practice continues to deliver value in our communities; and that it is consistently inclusive of emerging populations and responsive to changing global challenges. How can evaluation theory and practice evolve with our communities to include broader spectrums of identity, culture and ways of being? How has evaluation theory and practice adapted to embrace and amplify the diverse lenses held within our communities? How can evaluation design honour and deliver value given the breadth and complexity of human experiences?

Refocus – Pushing the boundaries, practicing on the edge

In future proofing we need to be prepared to take chances, to do things differently and to challenge the norms. This is how evaluation will be taken in new directions to solve new and old problems, and will ultimately play its part in transforming our communities. What will the future look like and what will evaluation look like in response? Anticipating and responding to our imagined futures will require evaluators to practice on the edge. How can evaluation innovate to respond with agility and creativity to the social and environmental issues shaping our futures?  What technology will we need? How can evaluators cultivate resilience and optimism as they push the boundaries of theory and practice?

Resonate – Building the translational and transformative impact of evaluation

For evaluation to be meaningful and useful, we need to enable the translation of knowledge into action and, ultimately, impact. For this to happen, the messages delivered by evaluation and evaluators need to resonate with our diverse audiences. In what ways are we currently communicating evaluative learnings effectively? How can we work for effect, be seen and heard to ensure evaluation influences decision-making and effects change? What are the tools, methods and ways of communicating that help us be transformative in translating evaluative evidence into a shared vision for the future?