Our top 2019 takeaways

Lisa Wallace

Lisa Wallace, 11 December 2019

Our Client Management team share their top insights and tips to inspire successful evaluations in 2020.

Join the knowledge economy – connect, learn and grow with each other.
In 2019, we’ve seen a growing appetite amongst our clients for connecting with and learning from similar organisations. This ranges from simply sharing survey templates and stimulating discussion about useful metrics, through to the collection and interrogation of large national data sets (such as the Library Evaluation Network). The use of consistent measures within sectors and artforms is generating extremely interesting trends about the experiences and values of audiences and communities; aiding programming, targeted marketing, resource allocation and sector advocacy. 2020 will see us continue to facilitate and support the development of networks, as well as analysing and sharing some exciting big data insights. Georgia Moore, Managing Director, Melbourne.

Include some of the same key questions across events and surveys as part of your long-term evaluation strategy
We’ve seen organisations this year make a real effort to consistently ask some of the same questions across the board, both at different events and to different respondent groups, to help paint a wider picture of the work they do. Each survey should be to the point and only ask questions that are appropriate for the event in question. However, if you are able to ask some of the same questions in different contexts, you’ll be able to draw some really interesting comparative insight. Simone Topel, Support & Customer Engagement Coordinator, London.

Get your team involved to facilitate a successful and rewarding evaluation.
This year I’ve seen some really successful evaluation strategies come from organisations that have involved a broad range of staff in the evaluation planning process. Most orgs have access to a lot of data, and it can be quite confusing to try and translate it into meaningful insights, especially if there is one individual that is tasked to do so. We recommend seeking strategic input from people across different departments within your organisation. Together you can identify what information everyone needs to report against their KPIs and create a culture where data is valued, understood and goes on to inform data-driven decisions. Kristine Genovese, Client Manager, Perth.

Embrace the insights of comments - Include a free text feedback question in your survey to gain useful, sometimes unexpected, insights.
When creating your surveys, try to always include a free text question asking for generic comments and/or feedback. You’d be surprised at the level of insight a generic comment question might be able to give you. Sometimes it’s very difficult to anticipate the type of questions you should be asking your respondents. Allowing this opportunity for freedom of expression will help you to get the full picture of what you are evaluating. Elli Gemmo, Client Manager, Perth.

Whether you’re a producer, programmer or performer, peer review enables professional perspectives to be heard
This year, we have seen an increase in people embracing the concept of peer review in arts and culture; we hope to see more of this in the next! Peer review provides fresh professional perspectives from people that aren’t involved in the internal development of projects and enables organisations to understand how their work is perceived within their artform or specialist field.  It is also valuable for peers themselves as it enables them to experience different types of work, and to explore how their own practice relates to what others in their field are doing.  We hope that by expanding and diversifying peer review, Culture Counts will promote stronger professional networks across the sector, creating a supportive, challenging and stimulating environment for arts and culture to thrive. Siân Tattersall, Project Coordinator, London.

Simple is sometimes best in creating effective and enjoyable survey experiences.
Having the ability to ask any number of questions from your audience or participants can either mean having the world of data collection at your fingertips, or a very long rabbit hole to dive down. It’s always best to start with thinking about the data you want to receive first, then craft your evaluations so that you will end up with a meaningful set of data once you’ve surveyed your audience. What insights will be most beneficial for learnings or reviews? What kind of data will you need for your reporting? A survey doesn’t have to be long to be effective, keeping to the information you need will make evaluating your data more efficient, and your respondents will be grateful for a simple and effective survey to complete. Natasha Mian, Client Manager, Melbourne.

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