Conference and event presentations

2018 European Evaluation Society Conference

Data2insight founder Veronica Smith and strategic partner Antonella Guidoccio presented at the 2018 European Evaluation Society conference in Thessaloniki, Greece. We provide here information and resources to download from their round table sessions.

Focusing sessions: a stakeholder engagement and evaluation design method

When working with diverse communities, allowing time for stakeholder engagement is foundational to knowledge co-creation. A focusing session is a best practice that comes from theory-driven evaluation that contributes to better informed evaluation questions, which leads to more robust evaluation design, and findings that stakeholders value and use to inform decision making and action. It provides stakeholders with the opportunity to share with evaluators their goals, community and cultural context, understanding of their program, and desired impact. It also results in common understanding, and explicit, testable program theory, specific evaluation questions, and a framework for data collection and analysis. In this session, participants will walk through the focusing session steps including program theory validation. They will leave with a basic understanding of how a focusing session works, as well as a list of tools and resources they can apply in their own evaluation practice to engage stakeholders and increase use of evaluation findings.

Meaningful M&E systems through evidence-based leadership and evolutionary purpose

In this age of increasing complexity, rapid change, and demand for greater transparency and accountability from leaders the most successful teams of the future will excel at practical performance measurement and self-management. We are eager to share two frameworks with participants so they can use them to transform their mindset and practices, clarify and measure their organization’s mission, vision, and purpose, and use credible, actionable evidence to continually improve.

Objectives: One of the biggest challenges of putting in place a successful monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system is designing and defining meaningful measures that people use to improve program and team performance. This special activity shares concepts and tools to help evaluators and stakeholders:

  • to assess where their organizations are now in terms of producing and using meaningful evidence for improving performance; and
  • define the actions and changes needed to create learning organizations where teams are continually improving and achieving the results they truly desire.

Participants will leave with resources about, and a better understanding of: evidence based leadership, self organization and self management as well as how they can use these tools to become high performing teams.

It is common to see leaders and M&E units making the mistake of introducing practices (e.g. annual planning, KPI formulation processes, monthly reporting, and technological tools like performance dashboard) that soon are perceived as useless or complicated routines that do not provide useful performance measurement. Specifically, we have seen problems like teams and leaders who are unclear about their purpose, priorities and the results they want to achieve. Or leaders receiving misleading evidence and no actionable recommendations from KPIs. These problems often result in teams not using the data received through monitoring systems or not sharing data adequately. What a waste of time and money!

Rationale: How to get out of this trap? We draw from our team’s experience leveraging Performance Specialist Stacey Barr’s six habits of evidence based leaders and Frederic Laloux’s concepts in his book “Reinventing organizations” to show participants how to develop and implement a monitoring system that provides timely, relevant, credible, and actionable evidence that stakeholders could use to continually improve.

2018 UW Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Conference

This workshop for the 2018 UW Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) conference was designed to engage people in high school, college and early STEM careers in a conversation that results in greater understanding of best mentoring, internship, and sponsor practices for achieving STEM career goals faster and easier by strategically connecting and building mutually beneficial relationships with excellent professionals along the way.

Workshop Materials

Washington State Million Women Mentors Co-Chair Veronica S. Smith co-facilitated this workshop with Dr. Nnenia M. Campbell, a University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center Research Associate. Participants left better equipped to not only navigate the STEM education, training, and career maze, but also change the maze to be more inclusive and multicultural.

2016 American Evaluation Association Conference

Data2insight founder Veronica Smith has presented at the 2016 American Evaluation Association conference which took place in Atlanta. For those interested in Veronica’s work on dashboarding and focusing sessions, the presentations and handouts from both sessions are available here for download.

The latest dashboard research and sneak peek at an upcoming dashboarding field guide

Part of the multipaper panel titled “New Data Visualization Tools & Techniques to A+ Your Reporting”

Abstract: What is the knowledge base on dashboard design, build and use in performance/shared measurement, monitoring and evaluation? That’s what the folks at data2insight, led by data scientist Veronica S. Smith, will share: findings from a recent systematic literature review as well as interviews with practitioners and information design thought leaders about the current state of dashboard use and implications for the future. This work is being done in preparation for an upcoming field guide on dashboarding and measurement reporting (slated to be out in Fall 2017) authored by Ms. Smith for the Sage book series Evaluation in Practice.  We will also open up the conversation to hear our colleagues’ experiences, dashboard successes as well as challenges. Bring your dashboard stories and we might use them in the book! Take away a copy of the literature review and a deeper understanding of dashboarding and measurement reporting to inform your practice.

Focusing Sessions: A valuable stakeholder engagement and evaluation design tool

Abstract: Data2insight created ‘evaluation focusing sessions’ based on Stewart Donaldson’s process for developing program theory and formulating evaluation questions. These one-day (or two half-day) convenings are effective tools for engaging stakeholders in (1) creating common understanding of programs, (2) making program theory explicit and testable, (3) framing and prioritizing evaluation questions, and (4) providing a framework for data collection and analysis. This process informs a responsive, robust program evaluation design as well as establishing a strong foundation for evaluator-stakeholder co-creation of knowledge.

Data2insight will mock up and walk through the steps for planning and facilitating an engaging and effective focusing session. We will discuss benefits and limitations of those sessions, and how to secure stakeholder engagement.  You will receive a basic understanding of how a focusing session works, and a list of techniques and resources to apply in your evaluation practice.