Evaluation is an age-old conundrum in both engagement and communications. How do we truly demonstrate the value of our programs when we deal in the so-called soft sciences?
At Articulous we recently had the good fortune to facilitate a government workshop about the very topic – evaluation. It was truly impressive to see the intelligence and passion in the room about evaluating the success of a program that in this case is trying to help our state be at the forefront of future work opportunities.
The lesson for me in observing discussions during this session was that as an industry we need to be bold in encouraging investment in securing the data to enable meaningful analysis as opposed to a pass or fail criteria. And that planning for evaluation and gathering of data needs to happen early even if we are pressed for time. There are a lot of tools out there and even excellent government guidelines such as Office of the Chief Economist Evaluation Strategy that should hopefully start to be common practice in the development of every communication and engagement strategy.
It’s a big step in terms of planning but a necessary one if we want to evolve the conversation about the value of engagement and communications.