Sara Vaca on Creativity and Evaluation Part II

“Creativity is intelligence having fun”, Albert Einstein.

Greetings! I’m Sara Vaca, independent consultant ( and recently appointed Creative Advisor of this blog. To start contributing I thought of writing some posts about how creativity intertwines with evaluation. This is Part II of a two-part post. You can find Part I here.

Lesson Learned: Evaluation is a rigorous, systematic trans discipline. However, evaluators can (and already) use creativity to improve their practice in many different moments and levels.

Here are many examples, just digging in our aea365’s archives:

Hot Tips: 

1. Making the most of new available tools

Here are some clever examples:

Susan Kistler on Padlet: A Free Virtual Bulletin Board and Brainstorming Tool

Miki Tsukamoto on Using Video as a Tool to Capture Baseline Surveys

Sarah Rand, Amy Cassata, Maurice Samuels and Sandra Holt on iPad Survey Development for Young Learners

David Fetterman on Google Glass Part II: Using Glass as an Evaluation Tool

Jessica Manta-Meyer, Jocelyn Atkins, and Saili Willis on Creative Ways to Solicit Youth Feedback

Cindy Banyai on Creative Tech Tools for Participatory Evaluation

2. Disseminating results

We have plenty of examples within the Data Visualization and Reporting TIG. Here are some:

Megan Greeson and Adrienne Adams on Multimedia Reports

Susan Kistler on Innovative Reporting Part III: Taking It to the Streets

Elissa Schloesser How to Make Your Digital PDF Report Interactive and Accessible

Susan Kistler on a Free Tool for Adding Interactivity to Online Reports: Innovative Reporting Part IV

Kat Athanasiades on Get Graphic for Better Conversation Facilitation: Graphic Recording at Evaluation 2013

Rakesh Mohan, Lance McCleve, Tony Grange, Bryon Welch, and Margaret Campbell on Sankey Diagrams: A Cool Tool for Explaining the Complex Flow of Resources in Large Organizations

3. Learning about Evaluation

When it comes to our own learning, there is also room for new things. Here some ideas:

Jayne Corso on Why Blogging is so Important

Bloggers Series: Chris Lysy on Fresh Spectrum

Petra-Chambers-Sinclair on Biohacking: a New Hobby for Your Evaluative Mindset


We would love to hear how YOU are using creativity in your evaluation work.

Please consider contributing your own aea365 post! (

More about creativity and evaluation coming soon!

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.

2 thoughts on “Sara Vaca on Creativity and Evaluation Part II”

  1. Hi Sara,

    Great article.

    I think you can use creative processes in data collection. For instance, you can use LEGO to construct programme theory and how different outcomes are linked. Last year I attended the EES Conference in Dublin, I was writing copious notes across the workshops and sessions I attended. Then I had a light bulb moment, where I decided to reflect deeper and ask what represented my learning from the conference. I googled some origami templates, and produced an origami bus. I wrote down how the bus represented my learning on the bus. I keep this on my desk at work as a reminder of what I had learnt. So, I guess a creative reflection process works too. I also came across Photovoice as a means to collect programme participant stories I thought this was really great as it provided insight on aspects of the participants lives that could not have been captured without allowing for free expression.

    Recently I have been using a tool called Stormboard. It’s really great for brainstorming and collaboration. It’s a bit like a post it wall-but the great thing is that they provide templates for all kinds of facilitate sessions. Best of all it’s online, and you can download your brainstorming session as a PDF.

    Keep up the great work!


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