People learn in a variety of different ways and each with their own preferred style; developing a learning culture around evaluation therefore required flexibility, creativity, and adaptability – much like evaluation itself! We used a variety of different approaches and methods to engage and develop the team’s knowledge and understanding; from creating an internal ‘impact bulletin’ with links to key learning resources and case studies relating to the RSE’s impact, to running workshops and organising tailored training sessions.
We used ‘Making It Stick’ – an ESS resource about embedding evaluation. This provided practical tips and ideas for creating a learning culture and for generating discussion. Around the same time, we established an internal Impact Champions Group. The Impact Champions meet to discuss ideas and share experiences around evaluation in an informal setting. During the first few sessions, we discussed one topic from the embedding evaluation diagnostic wheel per meeting– taken from the ESS resource – and used the wheel to identify and map where we were in terms of evaluation as an organisation.
The impact champions group meetings have been a success. They take place every six weeks, usually on a Friday with some form of sweet treats which always helps to encourage staff attendance. The meeting has grown organically, with members now bringing their own examples of good evaluation practice to the meeting and engaging in discussions and debates about what constitutes appropriate impact evidence. I normally use the opportunity to trial an evaluation exercise which helps to get the group thinking, whilst showcasing the different tools available for use. We then have an informal discussion about what everyone is working on, plans for future work and ways to learn from each other.