Gov’t Eval Week: Sarah Brewer, Elise Garvey, Ted Kniker and Krystal Tomlin on the Future of Government Evaluation

We’re Sarah Brewer, Elise Garvey, Ted Kniker and Krystal Tomlin the current leadership of AEA’s Government Evaluation Topical Interest Group (TIG). To finish out Government Evaluation Week on AEA365, we decided to offer a glimpse into the future of Government Evaluation.

Since 2015 was the 25th anniversary of the Government Evaluation TIG, we wanted to forecast into the next 25 years, and sponsored a Birds of a Feather session at AEA 2015 on Predicting the Future of Evaluation and identifying if there are innovations we can make. Using an abbreviated scenario planning exercise, we set the context that scenario planning is about “stories” that illuminate the drivers of change.  We asked the group to brainstorm about what government evaluation could look like in 25 years — what are the innovations that will be thought of, what are the drivers of change in government evaluation, what is the future they imagine? A very positive shared vision emerged.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Performance metrics/evaluation findings presented through 1 page infographics/dashboards. Using improved data visualization, government evaluation can communicate more effectively.
  2. Increased use of open data and crowd sourcing for data to support evaluation. Government evaluation can lead the way to democratize data to understand how interventions succeed and can be used by more people.
  3. Diffusion of Evaluation capability to more government personnel – not concentrated in one Performance/Evaluation office. Organizational capacity building, organizational learning, and teaching of evaluation.
  4. Data and Evaluations are integrated across levels of government and across agency. More collaboration and networking of evaluation.
  5. The US would have a federal evaluation policy and/or more evaluations would be written into program authorizing legislation. AEA taking the lead.
  6. Improved technology for capture, structure, and analysis of qualitative data – i.e. voice recording. How can we take what’s been learned from the shared, portable music and apply it to data collection, analysis and reporting?
  7. Increased demand for evaluation capacity at all levels of government – especially at the county and city level. The more we innovate on the first six ideas, the more we can influence this one. The demand will increase.

Get Involved: The Government Evaluation TIG is taking these ideas, cross-walking them to our strategic planning goals to turn these possibilities into probabilities. Join us!

Rad Resources: Information and examples of Scenario Planning can be found in a multitude of resources, including:   U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Guide (for use with Natural Resources), “Living in the Futures” article by Angela Wilkinson and Roland Kupers in the May 2013 issue of Harvard Business Review, and Scenario Planning: A Tool for Strategic Thinking MITSLOAN Magazine: Winter, January 15, 1995, by Paul J. H. Schoemaker.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Gov’t Eval TIG Week with our colleagues in the Government Evaluation Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our Gov’t Eval TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “Gov’t Eval Week: Sarah Brewer, Elise Garvey, Ted Kniker and Krystal Tomlin on the Future of Government Evaluation”

  1. I am wondering if the authors or other readers can suggest existing non-proprietary online platforms designed specifically to share ongoing programmatic information with others. Platforms for public use and contribution. Thanks-

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