Image of two banners from a mindfulness event we held at the AEA conference with a title that says "How can mindfulness make you a better evaluator?"
November 20, 2018 - 1:11pm

Earlier this fall at the American Evaluation Association conference in Cleveland, The Improve Group hosted a Mindfulness Space. In partnership with AEA, we created a calm space near some natural light (and a surprise urban farm in the area outside!) with meditation resources, an activities table, fruit-infused water, and other resources for mindfulness. We see mindfulness as closely tied with our value of thoughtfulness and wanted to create a space for conference attendees to take a mindful moment amid the conference.

Image of Alyssa Scott providing feedback to a student in Kenya as part of her photo storytelling project.
October 30, 2018 - 11:53am

My name is Alyssa Scott, and I’m an Associate Writer here at The Improve Group. Being a writer, my relationship to evaluation is different than our consultants because I write about the results of an evaluation rather than conduct or facilitate the evaluation process. But the influence of evaluation is present everywhere, and I want to share a recent experience I had testing out my idea for a photo storytelling project for two different international NGOs, one in Kenya and one in Tanzania.

Headshot of Christen Pentek
October 30, 2018 - 11:08am

Christen Pentek HeadshotHi! I’m Christen Pentek, an associate consultant here at IG. Following the theme of our article of the month on using photos in evaluation, I want to tell you about PhotoVoice, a data collection method that engages participants in taking photos and describing them in their own words.

Graphic Image that says "Conference Season is Coming..."
September 25, 2018 - 11:02am

The Improve Group is preparing for a flurry of presentations and trainings. Here is where you will find us this conference season:

Graphic of an animal meditating with a title that states "Stay Mindful This Conference Season"
September 25, 2018 - 10:48am

For many of us, the upcoming months are full of conferences. It’s an exciting time—this flurry of activity can easily make one want to learn everything! Meet everyone! Network everywhere! But all too often, conferences can leave us feeling overwhelmed with information.

Headshot of Nick Stilp
September 25, 2018 - 10:31am

In reference to a hectic conference season, IG Associate Consultant Nick Stilp shares that "leveraging mindfulness properly during a conference can revitalize mental clarity and open up the cognitive resources needed for learning and critical thinking."

For this month’s IG-Ology, Nick Stilp details his mindfulness journey and provides some simple practices you can use to stay mindful and present this conference season. With these tips, ideally, by the end of the day, you won’t experience that conference drain and fatigue that we are all too familiar with.

Graphic image that states "A Tale of Two Surveys." The image is split in half. On one side there is an icon of a traditional survey, on the other side, an icon of a person interviewing another person to gather data.
August 27, 2018 - 11:19am

Surveys can take all shapes and sizes. And like any data collection, they require adaptability throughout the process. Two statewide surveys of the same number of people illustrate how surveys look differently—and provide different insights—based on your core principles.

Graphic image that includes various icons of things you would find at a State Fair, such as food, farm animals, and rides. The text states "Evaluation at the State Fair!"
August 27, 2018 - 11:09am

Here at The Improve Group we always look forward to State Fair season. And being evaluators, we decided to ask IGers what they would like to evaluate at the Minnesota State Fair. Check out how fun evaluation can be when combined with fried food, a plethora of dairy, animals, and warm weather!

If you could evaluate one thing at the State Fair, what would it be?

Russell Barnes: Does one Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar give you more cookies than the other? 

Headshot of Amy Cyr
August 27, 2018 - 10:58am

Amy Cyr HeadshotHi, I’m Amy Cyr, a Senior Consultant at IG. For this month’s IG-Ology, I want to answer a question that comes up a lot with qualitative analysis: “Where do I start?” While several considerations go into planning an analysis approach, a place I like to start is with the evaluation or research questions. How specific are they?

Collage of headshots of all of our new staff members - Brita Blesi, Ashley Boat, Colleen Casey, Jacqueline Frazier, Moira Gaidzanwa, Isabel Marsh, James Randle, and Alyssa Scott
July 31, 2018 - 12:41pm

It has been an exciting first half of the year here at The Improve Group as we welcomed several new employees! We continue to see growth in our work and in our clients’ needs - and this new cohort of IG-ers brings exciting new talents and experiences that will help meet those needs. Please join us in welcoming: