The fourth (and last) in the series of lunchtime dialogues on the Dynamics of Evaluation. A panel discussion between Dione Hills (Chair), Cristina Castellanos, Milena Stateva, Laura Stock and Richard Allen.
Key question: Would a clearer appreciation of dynamics – and politics – of communication help ensure that evaluation findings are better used?
This lunchtime event was the fourth of four dialogues in the Dynamics of Evaluation series, contributing to our celebration of 2015 International Year of Evaluation. Each event took a different perspective on the challenges that can arise when undertaking an evaluation, either for evaluators, or those being evaluated, and how these might be addressed.
In this session, the speakers brought together a number of different perspectives on how to tackle the challenging issue of how to communicate evaluation findings in way that ensures that, firstly, they are heard and understood, and secondly, they can contribute to supporting meaningful change in the systems, programmes or policies which have been evaluated.
The session began with a number of short presentations by a several evaluators and consultants who have been struggling with these challenges for a number of years. Some of those picked up on topics discussed in earlier lunch time events, such as the use of reflective practice, taking a system psychodynamic approach, and handling complexity and their implications for communicating evaluation findings.
Topics explored include:
- How can we communicate evaluation results that may be complex and messy? How can we communicate challenging or negative findings?
- What are the politics of communication? (Within the evaluation team, or between the evaluator and client)
- Can complex ideas really be communicated simply without a serious loss of meaning?
- Can visual approaches communicate more effectively than words?
- How can we best communicate challenging insights from system psychodynamics? How can these insights be communicated in an accessible way?
There was an experiential opportunity for those present to explore the challenges that have arisen in their own work around communicating evaluation results – whether as an evaluator, a communications manager, a policy-maker, a commissioner of evaluation, or someone who had been ‘evaluated’.
Panel chair: Dione Hills
Recording of talk
More information on each of the speakers can be found here.
The event was presented as part of the Food for Thought series of lunchtime talks.