Social Innovation is the new buzzword for social change, social impact and social engagement practice with many individuals and organisations working hard to meet expected outputs, secure funding and to feel like they are making a difference in their practice. But are we actually making a difference? By what standards are we measuring? How do we know we are achieving our goals and doing good work in the world?
The Making a Difference? (May 19th, 2017) seminar was set up to address some of these questions and to build the capacity of southern community workers to more effectively, holistically and authentically evaluate their work in the world.
On the day, participants from across government, local government, NGO and local enterprise came together to discuss, share and compare the latest trends in impact measurement, evaluation and reflective practice.
Below is a brief description of the event, and a link to any slides or material.
Three patai (questions) were used to shape the day:
- What is the role of reflective practice and impact evaluation in social innovation?
- What evaluative and reflective tools, ideas and methods are helping changemakers?
- How can design and evaluation better serve each other and our bigger purpose of creating impactful change?
The seminar began with Catalyst Speakers: Margaret Hinepo Williams (AUT) and Suaree Borell (Awa Associates, Toi Tangata) sharing key trends, experiences and intent of emerging evaluative practice from a Māori leadership and community perspective. A ‘Four Corners’ experience followed with individuals contributing learnings about the role of evaluative practice from their social innovation initiatives – individuals chose to attend two of the following interactive discussions:
- Koleta Savaii (TYMS) & Nadine Metzger (Point Research):
- From ‘being’ into ‘wellbeing’: using evaluation and reflective practice to implement a wellbeing framework for Pacific youth
- Carmel Irwin (MSD), Annalise Myers (Point Research):
- “Impact Stories” tools to track and evaluate the impact of SKIP across the country
- Sue Copas (Auckland District Health Board) & Anne Purcell (Tāmaki HEART)
- Creating breathing spaces in Tāmaki: activating collective wisdom for community wellbeing – Tāmaki Health and Wellbeing Lab
- Rachael Trotman and Kim Collins (Foundation North)
- Evaluating Innovation – Lessons from GIFT, a $5m fund to activate innovation to improve the Mauri of the Hauraki Gulf (see www.giftofthegulf.org)
Rhema Vaithianathan (AUT) then discussed her work in using Big Data for and with people and communities in South Auckland.
After lunch, there were short 20 minute mini-workshops where participants got to take away a specific key skill or technique.
- Using the ‘Check, Reflect, Adapt’ tool to keep the team focused
Alex Woodley (Point Research)
- Stand Ups & Retrospectives to keep fast moving teams on track
Jane Strange (Auckland Co-design Lab)
- Social Handprint – A framework looking at outcomes from different perspectives
Ingrid Burkett (The Australian Centre for Social Innovation)
- An introduction to the goal-process-outcome framework
Cath Conn (AUT)
- What to measure and how, thinking through an evaluation structure
Rhema Vaithianathan (AUT)
The workshops were followed by longer ‘clinics’ which involved discussions of a live challenge within a particular organisational or project setting. The clinics were an opportunity to draw upon the expertise and experience of those in the room, and allowed participants to draw connections to their own challenges and questions. The two clinics were:
- Developing an evaluation approach to support whānau centric co-design
Angie Tangaere (The Southern Initiative) & Kataraina Pipi (FEM 2006 Ltd)
- Developing and monitoring an Impact Model for Lifehack – a youth wellbeing innovation platform
Geoff Stone (Ripple Collective) & Penny Hagen (Lifehack)
Finally, international social design and impact expert Ingrid Burkett, from the Australian Centre for Innovation shared learnings on change and evaluation at a system level.
The event was a successful collaboration between Dr Maggie Buxton (Colab AUT), Dr Penny Hagen (Smallfire + LifeHack) and Dr Cath Conn (School of Public Health and Psychosocial Studies) – with kind assistance from Lee Ryan (Springboard Ideas). It was funded by AUT South Community Relations and kindly supported by Executive Director AUT South: Richard Hall.