We love helping others see how evaluation is fun and accessible, like with participatory activities for data collection. One way to do this, especially in evaluating an event, is to do a real-time, live “pop-up” evaluation!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 little over a year ago, the leadership team from Compatible Technology International (CTI) 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, CTI 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.
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:
Did 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.
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.