Creative evaluation, anybody?

Can I put in a plug for the notion of 'creative evaluation' of projects? I've had plenty of experience over the years, as commissioner of research and as writer of project evaluation reports, which leaves me feeling stifled by the box-ticking approach we're expected to take. Typically the evaluator is expected to serve up a statement of project objectives, an account of what happened, and is required to answer the question of whether the stated objectives were achieved. On a good day we get to hear about all the unanticipated outcomes. There is usually a nod (or a bow or a curtsey perhaps) in the direction of some kind of objective neutrality. No wonder there is so much shelfware about.

Could we start taking seriously the notion that an 'evaluation' is an opportunity for more creative exploration of the issues that have been brought to the surface? Most of these reports cannot be expected to be fully objective; but they could be more penetrative, more interpretative, and often could be expected to bring-in a wider range of experience to enrich the reflection on the project lessons.

Collaboration or action?

All the members of this group met in Bristol last night. Although we have come together through existing strong links between individuals, this was the fisrt time we'd all got together. A stimulating conversation was had. I still haven't digested it all but a couple of the things to emerge immediately for me were:

- I think it is important that the focus of the innovation exchange is not 'innovation' per se. I think the focus must be on 'action'. It must be about helping innovators achieve practical things, overcome barriers, that lead to better services for end users. If the Innovation Exchange can provide real services that can remove or lower barriers AND innovators know that the Innovation Exchange exists* then the motivation for innovators to participate will be clear.

- Is there an innovation process? Or are there lots? Or do things just happen? Does innovation always start with an individual innovator or can whole
organisations innovate? I'd appreciate the views of others on these
issues - please join in with your own blog or just comment on this one - click on the 'Register' link below.  read more »

Barriers to innovation and exchange

I don't want to start off on too negative a note, but what are the barriers to innovation in nonprofit organisations, that might be tackled as part of the innovation exchange programme? Here's a few I've come across.  read more »

Here's our Open Innovation Exchange news release

We hope third sector media and bloggers will pick up on this release ...If you do blog it, please tag openinex

Open Source bid for Third Sector Innovation Exchange

The Government's £1.2 million invitation to tender for a third sector innovation exchange has prompted an innovative response - an "open source bid" under which people are invited to share ideas with one team that is preparing a proposal.  read more »

Developing the model

version 3.0 of the Innovation Exchange Model

The full image can be viewed here.

We are trying to develop a single diagram that describes the relationships and exchanges that take place in the process of innovation in the delivery of public services.

We'd welcome comments on this.

Here's an explanation of the graphic as it stands:  read more »

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