IPE TIG Week: Intentionally Reframing Logic to Hope by Dyani Bingham, Desiree Restad, Kelley Milligan, and Allyson Kelley

We are Dyani Bingham, Desiree Restad, Kelley Milligan, and Allyson Kelley, AKA PLLC Public Health Consultants, Evaluators, and Scientists working with tribal communities across the U.S. We have experience helping clients visually reframe their logic models to show the impact of health programs in a way that is inspired by healing, culture, and community.

Rad Resource

Reframing logic models to embrace artistic and cultural expression has been a game-changer for our work. Pivoting from a model based on “logic” to one grounded in hope is a catalyst for inspired programming driven by tribal values. Visual logic models are more creative, heartfelt, and resonant with the communities we serve. Communities rarely see themselves reflected in traditional logic modeling, creating a disconnect between the program and the people. Stories of resilience and community strengths go untold, and the context of the program is not conveyed in a strength-based, culturally relevant manner.

Words and art are powerful. The integration of metaphorical art into Indigenous evaluation practices communicates shared meaning, values, and allows for reflection. The visual logic model encompasses all programs and provides a holistic, visual story of program inputs, activities, impacts, and outcomes. It demonstrates the values of the program and reflects the vision and mission. Visual logic models do not use terms like inputs; this is a generic term that is difficult to imagine. In one model, we used the term “Rooted in Homeland” to represent everything within the community that established the foundation or roots of the program (the inputs).

Theory of Hope vs. Theory of Change

Traditional logic models are based on a theory of change. They may be logical, but they are not hopeful. Hope is a critical ingredient for success because it is the belief that program efforts can and will make a difference. Visual logic models are “We” focused and future driven. They depict where programs aspire to be and are embedded within the resources that exist in the community. 

Create and use visual logic models with clients and with the community. Share models with other programs. Visual logic models can facilitate effective community engagement.

Hot Tips

Four tips for creating visual logic models and why they matter:

  1. Intentionally carve out time to create the visual logic model. Make space and engage people. Find a story in the community or Tribe that promotes hope. Build relationships and respectfully engage the community to build the model. Engage local artists, storytellers, and cultural leaders. Everything needed is in the community. Include the hopeful things within a community. Identify a collective vision for the theory of hope. 
  2. Engage and support artists, community, and peers to brainstorm imagery that reflects programs. What symbol or image represents a program activity? What images reflect the community? Every image has a story behind it. There are layers of stories in a visual logic mode; making images realistic and understandable is vital. Visual logic models are not overly focused on quantitative data and indicators.  
  3. Change is part of the modeling and hope-building process. Visual logic models are living documents and ebb and flow with a program or community’s needs and vision.
  4. Include all programs in the visual logic modeling process to avoid silos that take away hope. Remember, visual logic models are holistic, inclusive, and uplift culture.

Visual logic models show the big picture and convey lots of information. Integrating creativity and culture into evaluation can inspire programs and connect them. The process engages all stakeholders in working toward a collective vision and encourages sustainability and holistic evaluation approaches. Visual logic modeling reflects a paradigm shift in thinking about theories, language, and how programs define success. Funding agencies benefit because visual logic models highlight culturally strong programming and hopeful impacts within a community. Visual logic models are a powerful tool for evaluators and communities, they give us hope and connection to the communities we serve.

The American Evaluation Association is hosting Indigenous Peoples in Evaluation (IPE) TIG week. All posts this week are contributed by members of the IPE Topical Interest Group. 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@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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