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Tech TIG Week: How Will Evaluators Work with Blockchain? by Michael Cooper

Greetings.  I’m Michael Cooper and I am a Principal Expert with Integrity Global.  I work with groups like the Pulte Institute at Notre Dame, CALS Global at Virginia Tech and the UKAID Frontier Tech Hub on how, as researchers and evaluators, we can measure the value-add of using a blockchain and how we can use blockchain itself in performing our research and evaluation.   

While most people know bitcoin as the first and most famous blockchain, there are thousands of different blockchains and hundreds of thousands of applications at this point for everything from supply chain management, community currencies, natural resource management, economic development, civil society and more.  Blockchain adds value to these applications by creating efficiencies and other benefits through: 

HD wallpaper: Block Chain Network Concept - Distributed Ledger Technology -  Blockchain | Wallpaper Flare
  • Providing cost effective trust without traditional third parties
  • Improved security and privacy
  • Reduced costs through automation and streamlined processes
  • Increased speed of transaction settlement
  • Improved visibility and traceability 
  • Irreversible immutability
  • Greater individual control of data
  • Tokenization of traditional and new assets
The Approaching Blockchain Horizon 

The technology is potentially transformative in how individuals, institutions and communities organize and interact with each other which creates a need for new thinking, principles and practices in order to perform our research and evaluation functions in this new landscape.

No one knows the potential impact of blockchain technology, including its risks, and while it is still in its infancy, the technology could go to scale at accelerated rates which means that there is a window of opportunity to get ahead of the curve in thinking about how we will work with the technology in the future.

This thinking has already begun with early studies assessing how blockchain is being used, learning agendas highlighting knowledge gaps in how researchers and evaluators could work with the technology, and research that demonstrates the novel ways in which the technology can be used to apply traditional methods.  

Get Involved

How is AEA leading the way? As the AEA prepares its members for the further digitization and datafication of society, a new AEA Blockchain Working Group (operating under the Integrating Technology into Evaluation TIG) will be collaborating on learning about what the technology is, how is it being used, new methods and skill sets being used to measure it and how the technology itself is being used as a measurement tool.  Please consider this an open invitation to join us in the working group as we find opportunities to update our methods and advance our work in a rapidly developing decentralized future. 

The American Evaluation Association is hostingIntegrating Technology into Evaluation TIG Week with our colleagues in the Integrating Technology into Evaluation Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from ITE 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@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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