Susan Kistler on Leveraging Digital Assets

My name is Susan Kistler, the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director, and contributor of each Saturday’s post to aea365. The recent weeks have been full of opportunities for leveraging virtual relationships and digital assets to strengthen our community of practice.

Genuine Evaluation ButtonHot Tip – Help others to make the leap between the real you and the virtual you: At Evaluation 2010, Jane Davidson and Patricia Rogers, our colleagues who run the ever-informative Genuine Evaluation Blog, were handing out green pins declaring “Get Genuine with me!” to readers of their blog. Many aea365 authors wore ribbons indicating that they were a contributor. I received numerous questions and comments about aea365 because of my ribbon – both from those who were regular readers and from those who wanted to learn more.

Hot Tip – Use online relationships and information to make in-person connections: On Tuesday, I met with Phil Buchanan, Ellie Buteau, and Andrea Brock at the Center for Effective Philanthropy. I wanted to learn about their ideas regarding increasing public demand for evaluation. Jara Dean-Coffey, a mutual online colleague helped to make the introductions that set the stage for the meeting. Reading CEP Blog contributions from Phil (in particular a recent series on openness in organizations), Ellie, and Andrea provided context for the discussions.

While there, I noted that I valued the time face-to-face to say things that simply don’t get said in email or via a conference call where reading body language and building rapport are constrained by technology. “How 1980’s” they joked. (How did they know? Nantucket High ’84, Dartmouth ’89) Yet, our in-person meeting was framed and facilitated by the digital connections that define the current decade.

Hot Tip – Leverage online tools as digital assets: Wednesday brought a meeting with a woman from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to discuss possible collaboration and information-dissemination opportunities. We talked about ways that NIJ and AEA might work together to share resources and enhance quality in justice-focused evaluation. Our discussions regularly came back to leveraging digital assets – from the micro-level (we’ll ensure that NIJ’s evaluation –focused products are announced on AEA’s weekly headlines and resources list) to more expansive possibilities for enhancing the evaluation knowledge-base and distribution network including aea365, webinars, and via reviewed content in AEA’s journals with their broad-base of digital readers.

Hot Tip – Make a list, check it twice: I keep a categorized list of AEA’s assets – those things of value that we bring to relationships with the association’s stakeholders. Each December, I actively review and update the list and it is surely time to add the many new people, networks, and digital assets that have emerged over the past year.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Do you have ideas for increasing the demand for evaluation? For building collaborative relationships between AEA and other organizations? For bridging the live and the digital you? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage.

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