Last month Leapfrog presented a paper on ‘Owls of Creative Evaluation’ at the AHRC‘s Soundings and Findings Conference at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. It was a three-​day conference in which Leapfrog presented two papers. One of the papers looked at Creative Evaluation. The conference had wide range of subjects from design theory, participatory research, health, well being and social innovation in community based research projects. We presented our on going work on evaluation from GSA and our work with the Highlands and Islands communities. We spoke about what we have done in the past, our challenges and what we intent to do in the near future.

After the presentation, we opened the conversation to encourage our audience to speak about their experience and challenges they faced in deploying evaluation in their respective projects. This turned out to be not only an interactive session but also insightful. This useful exercise was intended to capture the challenges they encountered during evaluation process and how leapfrog can address these issues in our wide range of short project and major project we work in the coming years.

From conversations it was understood that there was a great need for creative evaluation while traditional evaluation methods are not suitable all the time. The audience spoke about how the emphasis in the project is mostly to meet funder’s need and this means the purpose of evaluation is skewed and often the long-​term impact is missed. The evaluator can often be biased and look only for what they want to find. How do we make sure the evaluation is done objectively? This made us think that Leapfrog should be carrying out more reflection in our “process” as our projects unfold. This will help us answer some of the challenges other researchers have faced in their projects.