It’s that time of year to celebrate, eat too much prawn toast and pudding, and – when you’re a bunch of evaluators – to reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re going and what we can do better next year.
Its been a year of change at ARTD, with growing teams in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. We’ve welcomed new staff in Melbourne, who bring experience in evaluation theory, behavioural insights and research with children. In Brisbane, we’ve welcomed back Emily Verstege – who has spent the last few years running her own business specialising in customer experience. And, in Sydney, we’re pleased to have the support of our new Aboriginal intern and research assistants.
It’s also been a year of partnerships – combining our project management and evaluation expertise with co-design, engagement, machine learning, accessible communication, film making and audit specialists. We’re excited about this potential.
To celebrate our hard work and 2018 successes, strengthen our capacity, and create plans for 2019, our teams came together last week for two-days of professional development and strategic planning. We reinforced our interview skills by reflecting on the biases we may bring to interactions and putting ourselves in the shoes of potential interviewees, using empathy maps to think deeply about what they might “think, feel, and do”. We also developed plans for the kind of work we want to be doing to support social change.
In the lead up to our 30-year anniversary, we also reflected on our identity as a company, asking provocative questions like, “what kitchen utensil best represents us? What is our colour?” There’s a lot that’s changed since our founding partners Chris Milne and Michael Brooks began in 1989—we’ve grown in size, embraced new technologies, and harnessed evolving evaluation methodologies to support our clients. There’s also a lot that that’s stayed the same—we continue to pride ourselves on our smart and skilled staff, who care deeply about the work they do and how they can strengthen public policy.
We’d like to thank everyone we worked with in 2018 for a productive and exciting year and wish you a safe and restful holiday break.
See you in 2019 for our 30th anniversary and the Australian Evaluation Society Conference in our home ground in Sydney. We look forward to sharing new insights in evaluation for the public good.