Graphic header that includes one word: Collaboration.
December 19, 2017 - 10:37am

A year ago, we launched 2017 with a theme of creativity and collaboration. We sent our friends cards they could use for coloring, and holiday gifts that made meetings creative and collaborative. We spent the year thinking about how to collaborate better within our team and with clients.

But I have a confession: Collaboration doesn’t come naturally to me. My default is to head to my computer and jot down some notes, or email someone my ideas. I like to “task pass” or “divide and conquer”—you do this, I do that, and we all go home for dinner.

Graphic header with article title: Improving our Practice: Making the Shift to Project-Centered Teams
December 19, 2017 - 10:23am

As many of you may know, The Improve Group has been undergoing a thoughtful and strategic process to restructure our organization. We have experienced sustained growth over the last few years – in terms of our clients, our projects and our Powerhouse Team. As IG has grown, we have been reflecting how we can best structure the organization to accommodate growth, and also to ensure that we reflect and practice our values – including thoughtfulness, innovation and creativity, excellence, collaboration and inclusiveness, joy, and building a better world – throughout our work.

Olmstead Quality of Life Survey Interviewers pose for a picture together after the completion of the survey.
December 19, 2017 - 10:11am

This month we wrapped up a huge project—the Minnesota Olmstead Plan’s Quality of Life Survey. The findings of this survey will serve as a baseline against which future survey results can be compared. Over time, this will show how the State of Minnesota is doing as it works to increase autonomy and integration for people with disabilities.

Stock image depicting International Agricultural Development
November 28, 2017 - 4:41pm

The Stakman-Borlaug Center for Sustainable Plant Health (SBC) has been awarded $721,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service to fund a two-year project to conduct the Food for Progress Post-Project Sustainability Assessment.

The Improve Group's Courtney Clingan presents on Evaluation Capacity Building at the 2017 American Evaluation Association Conference
November 28, 2017 - 1:52pm

Several of us at IG are reflecting on a great week of learning and connecting at the American Evaluation Association’s annual conference in Washington, DC earlier this month. We attend every year to learn, and to share our lessons learned, with fellow evaluators. We had so much fun meeting and learning from fellow lifelong students of evaluation! We also noticed several themes emerge:

Evaluation = learning

A local Senegalese farmer operates the CTI Thresher, a product design to process millet.
October 25, 2017 - 3:14pm

A little over a year ago, the leadership team from Bountifield International attended a presentation on Measurement and Evaluation by The Improve Group (IG) Founder & CEO, Leah Goldstein Moses, and Chief Practice Officer, Rebecca Stewart, at the Minnesota International NGO Network’s annual IDEA Summit. A St. Paul, Minnesota-based nonprofit, Bountifield is dedicated to helping families in developing countries access innovative farming tools so they can process their harvest more sustainably and bring their crops to market.

Samantha speaks to visitors who are interested in learning more about The Improve Group at an Exhibitor booth at the University of Minnesota's career fair
October 25, 2017 - 2:53pm

This month, we said a big thank you and good luck to Samantha Hagel—but not goodbye. After more than nine years with The Improve Group, including as our office manager, business manager, and most recently as our Chief Human Resources Officer, Samantha is moving to new adventures—including as a consultant to us as we launch several exciting new initiatives for our team.

I will miss working with Samantha immensely. Through her leadership, The Improve Group matured from a small, scrappy consulting company to an established firm. Some of the successes she helped us achieve are:

Domestic Violence Awareness Month - 30th Anniversary
October 25, 2017 - 1:55pm

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence - Honoring the 30th Anniversary of Domestic Violence Awareness MonthDid you know October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month? While domestic violence can happen any day of the year, we wanted to take some time this month to focus on the important work being done in this field, including by many of our clients.

Rebecca Lucero (left), Public Policy Director and Corinna Turbes, Federal Policy Campaign Coordinator of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits use the e-Learning Studio to create an informational video on MCN’s federal policy work
September 27, 2017 - 2:44pm

Training from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits  (MCN) is about to get a lot more interactive with the addition of an e-Learning Studio. We appreciate our partnership with MCN, which goes back more than a decade, and stems from our shared value of building the capacity of people and organizations in the nonprofit sector. As a longtime partner of MCN, we cannot wait to see the new opportunities this addition will bring to light. 

Graphic image of a barn standing in front of the outlines of the State of Minnesota
September 26, 2017 - 2:26pm

Sowing the Seeds of Success

Thoughtful planning process yields better results for a new program at the MDA

Headshot of Valerie Gamble, Minnesota Department of AgricultureLast spring, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) partnered with The Improve Group (IG) on a strategic planning process to implement a