Check out this short video blog on what are the group sizes that shift the design, methods and approach ...
In 2016 we worked on the Spring Garden West Public Engagement - it as was great process that lead to major changes in the design influenced by the public input. Here is a video from the developer talking about how they think development should be happening based on their experience working with us. I hope it could be useful for anyone trying to build a case for proper engagement in the design of infrastructure:
Follow the process from the beginning. This document illustrates the collaborative process on how the design evolved based on a dialogue between the public, the developer and design professionals. I hope this illustration of the engagement process can be used as material to support other projects. Check it out here or download it below:
Recently there has been an excellent exchange of resources on the Art of Hosting email list around how evaluation connects to the work of participatory leadership. I hope you find these resources and reflections as useful as I have. I have separated the content based on the person that contributed to make it a bit more accessible. Check it out below.
Here are a few resources that have been meaningful for me:
The New Directions for Evaluation Journal (special issue on evaluation and facilitation)
The Guide to Evaluating Collective Impact
Also here is a resource that Miranda Cobb and I created as an introductory toolkit for community-based, participatory and developmental evaluation last year.
"In my experience, so much of what Developmental Evaluation does is already naturally embedded within Art of Hosting practices, especially if there is a strong and rigorous harvesting strategy, so I'd suggest syncing up at this level with the evaluation team (otherwise needless overlap can occur)."
We are doing lots of developmental evaluation connected to many of the hosting projects of the Future Services Institute in Minnesota. But most are 'under construction.'
Kathy Quick and I have done a few articles that are more theory building / basic research. One is published in a journal, another in a book chapter, and another forthcoming. I've attached them here:
Another form of harvesting that we did is an e-book from how Art of Hosting was implemented throughout our University system. It can be found here: http://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/155523
There's a distinction to be made based on what are you evaluating. Do you want to know: how effective the program is that uses hosting? Or how hosting works? Whether the event was hosted well and whether hosting was the right approach?
Depending on your answer, I'm listing resources below. And of course, I am open to a conversation (DrRita@ritafierro.com), if you feel like you're swimming and need support.
A distinction is needed between evaluating the effectiveness of programs using participatory leadership (how effective the program is), publications on participatory leadership and evaluation (publications on the area above), research on participatory leadership practices (how participatory leadership works), and evaluation of participatory leadership practices (how well participatory leadership works).
1) EVALUATING PROGRAMS USING PARTICIPATORY LEADERSHIP - how effective the program is
I've been combining participatory leadership practices in evaluation for several years now and training on the topic for the past four years, including three years at the American Evaluation Association.
Currently, one of the developmental evaluations I am conducting is of a trauma training for police officers and community members in Newark, NJ, which began with a community visioning process for the best role for police in the face of violence in community--Using World Cafe and Circle Practice. We are using developmental evaluation to track the increased mutual understanding between police and community especially on issues of race.
More on the added value that participatory leadership provides to evaluation on my blog: Seven Great Reasons to Use Participatory Leadership in Evaluation.
2) PUBLICATIONS ON PARTICIPATORY LEADERSHIP AND EVALUATION - publications of program effectiveness
I also co-edited an issue: Evaluation and Facilitation in the New Directions in Evaluation Journal that digs into these issues more deeply.
If you're interested in purchasing it, you can a discount here, or contact me. The issue includes my article:
Enhancing Facilitation Skills: Dancing with Dynamic Tensions
As for the use of complexity theory in Evaluation there are two articles I wrote for Better Evaluation on:
- Using SenseMaker in Child-Centred Research
- Using SenseMaker to Understand Girls' Education in Ethiopia
3) RESEARCH on PARTICIPATORY LEADERSHIP PRACTICES - how hosting works
Jodi Sanfort has been a leader here and links to her articles are in the section above with her name.
4) EVALUATING PARTICIPATORY LEADERSHIP PRACTICES - how well an event or training was hosted
This is the area that is least developed, and that is growing. In the above mentioned journal there is one article on an
Evaluation of Participatory Leadership practices:
Invisible and Unbound? The Challenge and Practice of Evaluating Embedded Facilitation 107 by Jessica Dart, Megan Roberts
Further, in researching for the journal I found four reports on evaluations of Art of Hosting - but it's mainly evaluating the impact of trainings:
- Practicing the Art of Hosting Report
- AOH Success Works Evaluation Report
- Cultivating Change in the Academy
I hope this helps.
Happy to get a mention in this piece of research done by Rachel Sinha and Tim Draimin. Check it out - a good 20 thousand foot view with lots of jumping points for those wanting to dig deeper. Read online or download below:
One of my earliest and most impactful mentors has been Toke Moeller. To say he has had an impact on my career and life would just be scratching the surface. One of the things he said to me the first time I met him around a fire in 2000 at a Slovenian Castle (you know, as you do ... ) was "keep good company".
The phrase has always stuck with me and played out in lots of ways, particularly as a mantra for who I hold close as friends in my life and who I choose to work with. There is now question that the results of my work are dependent on the quality of relationships I have with the people I deliver it with. Over the years I have chosen "my company" carefully and built relationships which enable us to offer services of an equal quality to any studio or bigger company. It is not by becoming bigger as a business that we can do this but by being more connected as friends, colleagues and entrepreneurs.
I wanted to introduce some of the brilliant people I get to work with. This is not only to showcase them and their work on my blog but also to make visible a business model that enables small entrepreneurs to collaborate and take their work to scale. There are notable omissions from this list. I have focused on folks I work with who are not facilitators / hosts / front of room. Check out the who page on my website for a full list of people and links to their sites.
Gary Blakemore - cutting edge music creation / production
I've known Gary since I was 18. He has always been one of those people who has blown me away with new music from across all genres. So when he got into music production and making his own music it just made sense to combine forces whenever possible. Any music, sound production or original music you hear on blogs and videos, that's Gary. Gary also produced and mastered my album with Marc Durkee - Everyone Else Is Taken .
Karen Densmore - top notch project management, strategic counsel and communications
Karen is the back bone of the many of the major projects you see on The Work page. She joined in the role of project management and communications and quickly became a key strategic thinking partner. She also supports with co-facilitation and recently added media relations to her tool box! Her ability to learn skills in response to the needs of the projects we have taken on together has been outstanding, especially when it comes to public engagement work. More on Karen on her website .
Katie Condon - managing partner and administration
Katie is my wife and life partner. She also has an incredible attention to detail. Her partnership, guidance and friendship are a massive part of anything I do. Katie runs my business; from bookkeeping, calendaring and contracts to helping me think through complex professional issues. She also has her own bookkeeping business where she provides cloud based accounting and some admin support for small to medium sized businesses.
Meg Craig Wiens - branding genius and fabulous website builder
Robert Wright - advice, coaching and therapy
Tim Reeves Horton & Justin Pickens, Picnic Studios - video
When I read the book ReWork (by the folks who made Basecamp) they had this whole section on "hiring mangers of one". It made total sense to me. I find I am working with brilliant mangers of one (or two or three but not big companies). To finish, here's a quote I took from their website which talks about it:
When you’re hiring, seek out people who are managers of one.
I had a great weekend working with folks from the Forestry Lab who are launching innovative solutions to the challenges in the forest sector. On the second day we re-visited the Two Loops of Systems Change (which we have been using as a model to understand our work) and Alastair Jarvis integrated his perspective on Lean Start Up. I loved seeing progressive entrepreneurship positioned in this big picture model. Check out the video - it's about 9 minutes and worth the viewing:
If you want to know more about Two Loops of Systems Change of Lean Start Up, here's some links:
It's been a good year, 2015. One of the things I have enjoyed is getting back to listening to music. Taking the time to listen to albums all the way through, friends recommending bands or making me mixes. It inspired me to digitize my CD collection (I'm about one quarter of the way through - great to have a winter project right?) - which has lead to me discovering some albums I love but had forgotten - like Al Jarreau - Glow, Gomez - Bring it On or Nitin Sawnhey - Prophesy. I ended up making mixes for friends as Christmas presents this year! Anyway, here's some of the music I picked up in 2015 that is carrying me into 2016. Music for the change in year, in no particular order ... I hope you enjoy and please beware there are explicit lyrics in some of the following. Enjoy what you like and skip what you don't.
I have been having a blast doing a few keynotes this year. It has mostly been audiences of 70-200 people in all kinds of settings - from International Port Authorities and Education Communications people to Disease Control professionals and Urban Planners. It has been a lot of fun and I feel like I am right at the beginning of learning how to do it well!
Keynotes can be a good gateway for those who want to explore new or alternative ways of doing things; a starting place to dig deeper. I think the best use of a keynote is to provoke people to figure out their own solutions in conversation with each other. Here's a video that shows a bit of what I have been working with and some talking through of how we have been designing the sessions afterwards. Hope it is helpful of others who are stepping into more speaking gigs and also really invite thoughts about what would make it better ...
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