AEA 2015 was a special one for me for it was the first time the concept of program design got traction. I presented with fellow design-minded evaluators in two sessions.
In the first one, I reported on my experience of embedding design principles into a developmental evaluation. The presentation was entitled, Lessons-learned from embedding design into a developmental evaluation: The significance of power, ownership, and organizational culture. And, here’s the abstract:
Recent attempts at developmental evaluation (DE) are incorporating human-centered design (HCD) principles (Dorst, 2011; IDEO, n.d.) to facilitate program development. HCD promotes a design-oriented stance toward program development and articulates a set of values that focuses the evaluation beyond those ideals expressed by stakeholders. Embedding design into DE promises to offer a more powerful means to promoting program development beyond either approach alone. Yet, embedding design into DE introduces additional challenges. Drawing on a case study into a design-informed DE, this panelist discusses the tensions and challenges that arose as one developmental evaluator attempted to introduce design into a DE. Insights from the case study point to the importance of:
– Attending to power dynamics that could stifle or promote design integration; and,
– Evaluator sensitivity over the deep attachment program developers had over program decisions
These findings allude to the significance of organizational culture in enabling a design-informed DE.
In the second presentation, Chithra Adams (@ChithraAdams), John Nash (@jnash), Beth Rous (@bethrous), and I discussed how principles of human-centered design could be applied to the development of programs.
Specifically, we introduced two design exercises–Journey Mapping, and User Archetyping–as means to bringing human-centered design principles into program design and evaluation.
In an upcoming post, we’ll take a deep dive into these design exercises and examine their application to program design.
Are you curious about program design? Have you any particular questions about its methods and methodologies that you’d like us to write about? Drop me a note below or find me on Twitter @chiyanlam, where I curate tweets on evaluation, design, social innovation, and creativity.
Until next time. Onwards!