"Praxis did an excellent - both thorough and comprehensive - program evaluation for our organization that will inform our strategy going forward. In addition, I learned a huge amount about program evaluation that will help me design and evaluate all of our programs and guide our strategic planning more effectively. The value of working with Yve and her team extended far beyond what we set out to do. I'm eager to find other opportunities to work with them."
Praxis Associates works with mission-driven organizations to achieve their social missions through:
Developmental evaluation: An adaptive evaluation approach that supports innovation, where evaluators are involved throughout the entire process, and learnings are applied while the work is ongoing. Innovation might be a brand new idea, adapting an established way of doing things to a new context, a response of a complex or dynamic situation. DE helps give initial direction, tests quick iterations, provides timely data that’s needed now (not just when a report is due), tracks developments, and surfaces issues and emerging paths forward. It’s not a method or even a set of methods, but a practice of using evaluation for ongoing learning.
Principles-focused planning & evaluation: Useful when rules, recipes or linear predictive models don’t adequately describe what needs to happen. Principles provide actionable guidance when the specifics of a program are not yet known, when there might be many different paths to achieve the same goals but some kind of guiding compass is needed. Work can be evaluated for its alignment to guiding principles, and the results of adhering to principles can be evaluated.
Complexity-aware evaluation: For situations when it’s not possible to draw a direct linear cause-effect linkage between a strategy or program and pre-determined hoped-for outcomes. This can happen when there are too many variables outside of the organization’s control or when an innovation is new and it’s not yet known how it works. It’s still possible to evaluate the effectiveness and results of work that takes place in these kinds of complex situations. Methods are often highly participatory and involve creative modes such as collecting people’s stories and using art.
Engagement & generative practices. Processes such as Open Space Technology, and World Café engage people in generative conversation where they examine critical problems in new ways that catalyze movement. These practices are powerful generators of creative solutions, new principles for action, and emergent shifts in practices. We use a variety of qualitative methods to harvest the learning from events like these, and then circle back with participants to make sense of what was learned and what it means.
Integrating learning into planning & design: The principles of Utilization Focused Evaluation hold that evaluation must be useful to its intended users for some identifiable important use (such as an upcoming decision, the improvement of a program, or the identification of new strategies). The link between evaluation and its use involves active and intentional integration of learning into future plans. We can work with your intended users (your leadership team, your program director, your activist collective) to make the evaluation actionable by embedding evaluation within the larger context of program and strategic planning, organizational development or whole systems change.
Please contact us for more information about our services.
Praxis Associates, LLC | Vashon Island, WA and Berkeley, CA | firstname.lastname@example.org