Design meets evaluation: AEA 2016

Design + Evaluation
Design + Evaluation

The theme for this year’s annual Cameron Norman, to bring greater understanding and dialogue between what is created and how its value and impact is assessed. Speaking on the need for this focus, Gargani adds:

“Everything we evaluate is designed. Every evaluation we conduct is designed. Every report, graph, or figure we present is designed. In our profession, design and evaluation are woven together to support the same purpose—making the world a better place. This is the inspiration for the 2016 theme: Evaluation + Design. In 2016, we will be diving into this concept looking specifically at three areas—program designevaluation design, and information design” – AEA President, John Gargani.

Sheila Robinson, an evaluator who also runs the AEA’s amazing AEA365 daily blog on evaluation research and practice, recently wrote on the need to create a culture of evaluation within an organization for it to be successful.

Together, the idea of bringing together design and a culture for letting design flourish with evaluation is compelling and something we’ve encouraged in our client work.

It’s one thing to argue for design as a competitive advantage and evaluation as a means for building, sustaining and enhancing performance, but it’s far more difficult to build cultures that nourish and sustain both good design and evaluation. Yet, it is the integration of design and evaluation that is the key to innovation and doing it sustainably.

If you’re interested in learning more about this and the issues associated with design and evaluation, consider attending the upcoming conference in Atlanta and following the AEA365 blog (and this one) in the months building up to this event. And for more information on how to build a culture of evaluation and design in your work, contact us at: info @

Photo credit: Design by Piotr Mamnaimie used under Creative Commons License via Flickr.

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