Eval13 Day One

My posts are going to be a bit different this week. Each day I’ll publish one and based on the comments I receive, the experiences shared by colleagues, and my own observations, the posts will grow. So check back occasionally.

I could really use your help. I want to make these posts special and boost discussion outside the conference halls. Check out this page for more info on how you can help make a contribution. If you don’t want to check, the basic idea is to just comment on your experiences.

I’m going to be flying today, but to get things started I created a set of cartoons based on some of the comments I received yesterday.

Feel the Energy

Wendy Tackett left this in a comment yesterday.

I’m ready to get re-energized with the enthusiasm from other evaluators who will be sharing about technological wonders, innovative evaluative techniques, focused methodologies for analyses, and concrete ways for visually-challenged to use data visualizations!

One of the things you notice pretty quickly (basing this on past conferences) is the enthusiasm many evaluators have when getting together to talk about their craft.

Appreciating the private side of DC

As Jan Hogle pointed out, there are benefits to a quieter DC.

The good things about the shut-down include: lack of crowds on Metro! And go to see the Newseum — it’s private and open. I was just there on Friday. Awesome. Special Newseum exhibits right now: Pulitzer Prize winners in photography, the Kennedy assassination, 9/11. Also, Van Gogh is at the Phillips gallery — also private, also open.



Data is Sexy

This one inspired by an #eval13 tweet.

Maintaining connections

Jeff Wasbes left a comment about following up with connections after the conference.

There is always a wealth of enthusiasm and great ideas at the AEA conference. I always enjoy hearing about those ideas and meeting the smart people who are developing them. Sadly, after the conclusion of the conference, I fail to follow up with many of the folks I meet to pursue areas of common interest. This year, I am dedicating myself to do a better job following through on new and existing connections after the conference ends.

I pressed a little bit and discovered that Jeff has a plan…

Right – I think something as simple as a calendar reminder in outlook or gmail might work. I was thinking something similar, only I would link the reminder to some milestone in the project of common interest. In other words, I would want to touch base with the connection at the same time that I have something to discuss about progress made, or new ideas, or some barrier that we’ve encountered, etc.

Those not attending

After posting yesterday I received a couple of emails from evaluators who won’t be making it to this year’s conference but will be following. Jamie Clearfield, who is continuing her adventure in Ghana, and Ray Lewis from Minnesota who wrote this:

Sorry I can’t attend #Eval13 in person this year, but am looking forward to interacting online! Following up with you after last years meeting was important to my effort telling health policy stories in a way people could relate to their own experience.I’m looking forward to learning about any successful advocacy strategies that incorporate eval findings into negotiations to help resolve “wicked problems” in a complex political environment. Having evaluators in DC may help frame topics, weigh evidence, and move discussions forward in ways that improve the circumstances for all of us.

Integrating new ideas

Kylie Hutchinson sent me an email today…

This is what’s trending on my mind right now –

How the f*&%!! am I going to find the time to integrate everything I learn this week. I still have some of my notes from AEA2011 and AEA2012 to go through.

Stephanie Evergreen

Sat in on Stephanie’s (stephanieevergreen.com) Smart Data Presentation. Talk about a treasure trove of cartoon inspiration.

John Gargani

Ran into John Gargani (evalblog.com) in the halls. I learned that he is accidentally a fantastic blogger (my words not his). Basically he started writing well researched awesome posts because he didn’t know they were supposed to be shorter and somewhat shallow.

My advice, keep doing the long in depth stuff, cause it’s awesome. Oh, he’s had a pretty long break between posts, this is what he was doing.


Seriously people. Write some comments I need your viewpoints!!!

To be continued…

This post will grow…


While at the conference, comment please. I’m going to be using the comments for cartoon inspiration. This is your chance to get cartoons on whatever obscure (and not so obscure) evaluation topics you discuss and love.



  1. Jamie Clearfield on October 16, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Thanks for the shout out and so looking forward to hearing about Eval13 from the comments posted here! Excited to learn and share across the miles…

    • Chris Lysy on October 16, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Looking forward to your perspectives from across the Atlantic!

  2. Wendy Tackett on October 16, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Oh Chris, you don’t know how perfect that excited evaluators TIG cartoon is!!! I’m the one at large meetings and conferences (that have very few evaluators present) who hoots & hollers whenever a presenter says evaluation or data. Love it!!!! I’m going to write it on a ribbon at AEA 🙂

    • Chris Lysy on October 16, 2013 at 11:48 am

      I love it, if you put it on a ribbon could you take a pic?

  3. Isaac Castillo on October 16, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    There were a surprising number of Ignite newbies in the audience of the session that I chaired tonight. There were some priceless looks on people’s faces when I explained the concept. And even more when I dropped this tidbit:

    Average human speaks at a rate of about 100 words per minute. Ignite slides advance every 15 seconds. That is only 25 words per slide – or 500 words for the entire presentation.


    • Chris Lysy on October 16, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      I don’t think I’ve ever heard ignites described that way. That’s an awesome tidbit, Isaac. Definitely going to inspire a cartoon for the day 2 post.

  4. Trina Willard on October 17, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Thanks for tooning me as an excited evaluator (I’m the one in the skirt). BTW, there’s great inspiration in Ignite session 143. I’ve never seen evaluators laugh so much!

  5. Rayrlewis on October 17, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Good job #eval13 on solving the shutdown on day one, but correlation and causality is a difficult concept for some. Who has worked on measuring attribution of advocacy efforts for different entities for collective impact?