Hot off the press! Our Evaluation comic 2.0
When our first comic got some chuckles, we sat back in our office and patted ourselves on the back for a job well done at the successful launch of ONN’s first comic series**. Then someone pointed out that a “series” necessarily involves more than one of something… As a result, we proudly present you with our second comic! (Kidding, we totally had this planned all along).
In this comic, we go back to a classic theme of ours: When the focus is on using evaluation to inform action and meaningful outcomes, good things can happen.
In the lefthand frame, our old friend Key Learnings Tablet makes an appearance in each of three scenarios representing the evaluation findings in action. In one scenario, as a result of the evaluation key learnings, a community garden was built capped off with a good ole fist bump. In yet another scenario, the key learnings led to the development of legislation and a judicious high five. Finally, in our third scenario, an organization was able to communicate its story and impact in a new way based on — wait for it — the evaluation key learnings!
Sadly, as we see in the next frame, when evaluation isn’t used effectively, our beloved Key Learnings Tablet finds itself in quite a precarious situation given the black hole, its proximity to the garbage can, and the fact that some careless individual has left the window open. In this frame, we bear witness to untold wasted resources that went into evaluation reports that did not lead to action. While it’s not our place to speculate about what happens on the other side of black holes, we have been told that one of the reasons people get frustrated about evaluation is that they never see or hear about the results of their evaluation work ever again.
In short, this comic focuses on the potential of evaluation when it’s used effectively vs. the missed opportunities of evaluation when it’s used ineffectively. At the same time, we know use has a lot to do with who is involved and the relationships between certain stakeholders (as noted in our first comic). Nevertheless, this comic also speaks to how we think about evaluation. In other words, the purpose of evaluation becomes a much more engaging conversation topic when we consider how it might inform our work and benefit our community rather than simply as a side of the desk exercise designed only to satisfy someone else.
**Editor’s note: The use of the pronoun “we” in this sentence is inaccurate. While our evaluation program associate may have in fact sat back in his chair, the rest of us had work to do.