A New Visual Thinking Approach to Evaluation: Introducing EvaluVision by Keisuke Taketani, Katherine Haugh, Yumiko Kanemitsu

(This blog was originally published at American Evaluation Association on April 9, 2021)

Greetings AEA365! We are Katherine Haugh, Yumiko Kanemitsu  and Keisuke Taketani, a group of individuals who are passionate about visual thinking and its applications in evaluation and adaptive learning. 

Yumiko is a Regional Evaluation Officer at the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme. Keisuke is a freelance facilitation and visualization expert who partners often with the Asian Development Bank. Katherine is a freelance organizational learning and visual design expert.

The three of us are thrilled by the possibilities of working at the intersection of visual thinking, facilitation, and evaluation. 

First things first, what is EvaluVision? 

EvaluVision is an approach to improving collective learning by combining evaluation and visualization techniques. It filters technical language, theories, and indicators and organizes them into comprehensible graphics that can more meaningfully and easily spark dialogue and learning. It was created by the UN with input from key evaluation and visualization experts and has been piloted and tested in Asia and the Pacific Region. 

How can you use it? 

You can check out the public EvaluVision ebook which walks you through the steps for using it at different stages of the evaluation process–from context analysis all the way through design, data collection, validation, and dissemination. 

Here are some examples of ways in which you can use the EvaluVision approach at any stage in the evaluation process: 

  • Program design phase: EvaluVision helps teams in co-creating a strategic vision for their project and a theory of change. 
  • Context analysis: EvaluVision can unpack a complex situation and clarify the relationships between different actors or systems dynamics, sourcing perspectives from various points of view to better understand the context and how that impacts the program design. 
  • Data collection: EvaluVision can be helpful to increase the quality of inputs from stakeholders, including community beneficiaries, such as through capturing stories in a graphic way or using other visual collection tools. 
  • Data validation: EvaluVision can visualize the key findings and lessons learned from the evaluation team and can use visuals to help teams co-create recommendations for collective action. 
  • Dissemination: In our experience, there is not enough feedback to community beneficiaires after evaluations conclude. Visual materials can explain the result of evaluation in a manner that everyone can understand.

Hot Tip: In our experience, every organization has at least one person who is open to using innovative methods like this one. Instead of spending effort trying to convince people who are not open to it, spend your energy working with a small group of people who are curious and open to the possibility of trying something new. Without that openness, the method is not as meaningful. 

If you are passionate or curious about working at the intersection of visual thinking, facilitation, and evaluation, please get in touch with us! You can reach out to Keisuke at keisuke.taketani@gmail.com,. You can reach out to Katherine at kat.haugh@gmail.com and you can reach Yumiko by emailing her at yumiko.kanemitsu@wfp.org

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