Last week the Canadian Evaluation Society BC & Yukon Chapter held a conference on the theme of Collaboration, Contribution and Collective Impact.

This sold-out event reminded me how much we want to collaborate in our own field.  We work together with clients, partners and stakeholders all the time, incorporating new practices and innovating to build relationships and improve our outcomes. 

Paul Kishchuk talked about wisdom outcomes being integral to making a difference as evaluators.  We learned new skills like graphic facilitation from @jackiecamsden, designed to help us collaborate.  I couldn’t attend the Evaluation Therapy session, but I heard from many people how much they enjoyed the chance to intervene in common situations and act out their own recommendations, quite literally.  Incorporating a new element like theatre adds to our toolbox in unexpected ways. 

Funders talked frankly about how hard it is to standardize metrics, because to respect context naturally leads to adaptation and differentiation, but to tell a bigger story, we need to define common measures.

What did I take away from the experience?

   1.  We learn and grow better together
   2.  Collaboration is complex and we benefit by being creative, observant and adaptable to make sense of it in evaluation
   3.  Collaboration is a confluence of individuals, mechanisms and systems, and we need to approach it with this understanding

Thanks to the many excellent presenters and to the attendees who provoked meaningful conversations.  I look forward to next year!