Bite Sized Reports: Moving from Bland to Delicious in Evaluation Reporting

03/26/2014

I’ve had several conversations lately with clients, friends, and colleagues about creative ways evaluators can (and must!) make reports more dynamic and digestible.

When I was the Director of Audience Insights at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, my fantastic team worked to create a series of short videos to share key findings with internal staff and stakeholders.

Here they are:

Not only did these help our internal audiences to quickly see the data, it challenged me and my team to distill long (and all-too-often dense and tedious) reports to only the most important findings. These were just appetizers– conversations starters that created enthusiasm and interest in audience data. Starting with less was more.

Of course, there are times when less is not more and you need to go to greater lengths to present complexity, reveal nuances, and report detailed findings.

For a recent project with the Denver Art Museum I produced the final evaluation report in Prezi. While I find Prezi dizzying as a presentation tool, it can be fantastic for reporting. We had collected wonderful videos and in-depth interviews with young children and their grown-ups in this project; I didn’t want to lose the sights and sounds of the data in a written report. Instead, I created THIS REPORT. (Click the link and the Prezi will open in new window.)

I  accompanied the Prezi with a matching paper summary report for those who needed something tangible and offline.

While quite thorough and detailed, this alternative to the traditional written report provided access to the findings in a highly visual way that better reflected the programs we evaluated. (The project’s full report in exceptional too. Download it here.)

What have you seen or created?

Looking for more ideas? Check out my friend and superstar data communicator, Stephanie Evergreen. She recently posted a fun– and edible– reporting idea on her blog: findings cookies. Yum!

What else can make evaluation reports easier to swallow?

Comments

5 Responses to “Bite Sized Reports: Moving from Bland to Delicious in Evaluation Reporting”

  1. Susan Kistler

    Kate, these are amazing! What wonderful reporting inspiration.

    I, too, was inspired by Stephanie’s findings cookies – but I tend to burn things so I went with Sheila Robinson’s suggestion that we might think about findings chocolates. Using data from an evaluation report for Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS), we made the data diva’s chocolate box. See the itty bitty reports here: http://thesmarterone.com/2014/03/26/the-data-divas-chocolate-box/ – Very yum!

    Reply
  2. Kate Tinworth

    Love it Susan! Thanks for making reporting more delicious!
    What sort of reactions did you get to the chocolates? I was thrilled to see the explicit instructions you provided for prepping and printing. So helpful! Thank you for sharing.

    After my team at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science finished up the jellybean video we knew we had to get the word out. We alerted staff and museum volunteers to the video by meeting and greeting them at the staff entrance with little baggies full of jellybeans and a little tag attached with the URL for the video on it. (Cryptic– and very effective!) It was a fun way to get the message out and also really valuable in terms of getting our faces out from behind our desks and in front of staff we might not see or interact with often. That face time, both in person and by having the team featured in the videos, made us instantly more recognizable (within a staff of 400+). Hallway conversations, invitations to meetings on key projects, and overall awareness to our department followed. Some fantastic unanticipated results!

    Reply
    • Susan Kistler

      Thanks Kate! The SPPS people in my dataviz class loved the chocolates (they got to eat samples). One woman noted that she started meetings sharing a “nugget” of data/info. How serendipitous! Now she could make real nuggets to share.

      I love the idea of handing out the jellybean baggies with the video URL on it. We’re hoping to do an article on innovative promotion. I’ll incorporate (and attribute) your idea and be sure to vet it back with you.

      Great reports aren’t great if no one actually reads/views/eats them – and then ideally takes action (contemplates, applauds, modifies, celebrates, refines, innovates, disrupts, petitions, engages).

      Reply

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