I'm not a natural evaluator.  I'm too impatient and just want to get on with the next project.  But the more we do as a company the more importance I place on evaluation.  And looking back we've actually been quite good at it.  Every year every I'm a Councillor client gets a report on how their council has done.  Good and Bad.  CivicSurf was evaluated and the report was published by the Ministry of Justice.  Last year Sophia wrote a mammoth 126 page report on the first I'm a Scientist pilot.

Each report has been very useful.  They serve as a reference for a project over the years.  They force us to try and improve year on year and I hope that from time to time they have learning within them for other people.

Sophia has just posted a interim evaluation for the first phase of the I'm a Scientist Debate Kits.  We started marketing the first set of kits in June and we've now done some analysis on what worked.  A graph showing the the online sign-ups over time with key marketing events highlighted show the importance of direct mail and PR to the campaign.  It is interesting.  At least it will be to educational marketers.

We weren't required by the funders, the Wellcome Trust, to publish an interim report, but it is a good thing to do as it will force us to learn for the second and third stages of this excellent project.


Julian Bradder · 2nd August 2009 at 5:33 pm

Great point – Isn’t that what we get paid for though – to evaluate and get better.. that seems to me why it’s important!

Shane McCracken · 3rd August 2009 at 9:06 am

In some projects we do get paid for evaluation, in others not. If a project goes wrong often the first instinct is to “brush it under the carpet” and get on with the next thing. By publishing an evaluation, even it is a short one, it forces us to learn lessons. It’s a good thing but when you’re delivering a service to someone they are not always prepared to pay extra for you to evaluate how good you are.

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