To kick off this year, my mentor Kate Livingston, founder of ExposeYourMuseum, hosted me in Austin to reflect on what I've learned in 2015. Evaluators don't often get the opportunity to turn our focus inward, but when we do, we ask ourselves tough questions!
A week later, I keep reflecting on our discussion about the values we hold professionally. Many believe that evaluation or research offers an objective perspective of programs, exhibits, or a concept. Although our work provides insight into a variety of key perspectives, these are filtered through the interpretation and viewpoint of the analyst, the reporting technique, the methodology used, and the people hearing the message.
To some degree, accounting for these biases requires exposing our own filters. With that in mind, these are my four values I strive to bring to my work and life.
Improvement: There is always something that can change for the better. We achieve most when we are open to change.
Impact: Be aware of your influence on the experiences of other people.
Transparency: Strive to be clear, open, and honest.
Connection: Provide people with points of connection, build their comfort, and offer understanding of various perspectives.
Although I try to live by these values every day, writing them down brings them into focus. Having a written-out list will help me underscore these features in my work.
What values will you incorporate into your work this year?