Editorial comment: Craig reflects on a lesson he learned while recently facilitating a workshop on ECDG’s New Guide to Evaluation Capacity Development.
Last month, I attended the fifth conference of the Malaysian Evaluation Society in Kuala Lumpur. The theme of the conference was an Integrated Approach for Evaluation & Results-Based Management. Conference organizer, Dr. Aru Rassappan, and his colleagues did a terrific job attending to every detail. http://www.mes.org.my/mesconf2012/
After the conference, there were two days of workshops. Karen and I presented a workshop on how to use ECDG’s new Guide to ECD. After a brief introduction, workshop participants engaged in guided practice using the framework and principles to formulate an ECD intervention.
The first step of the process is to create a “rich picture” of the situation requiring ECD. In order to facilitate the task, we usually ask participants to work on one or two “rich pictures” that we have created in advance.
This time, however, a couple of participants wanted to formulate an intervention that was more relevant to their organization. They created their own “rich pictures” then continued on through the process of ECD modelling, based on each stakeholder’s perspective.
During the course of the workshop, I found it very, very difficult to guide the participants who had created their own “rich pictures.” I have been thinking about that off and on for the last month and I think that I have finally figured out the reason why!
When I think back on the MES workshop, the “rich pictures” created by the participants with whom I struggled, were replications of their respective org charts showing the structure of their organizations and the relationships of its parts and positions.
I believe that by using the org chart as the “rich picture,” these participants did not observe a fundamental rule of systems modelling that is “one models the problem and NOT the system”.
So in failing to provide good guidance to some participants, I learned the importance of creating really good “rich pictures” because that is the source from which everything else flows — the analysis, the root definitions, and the design of the intervention. My advice to ECDG New Guide users: invest adequate time in creating the “rich picture”.