As a grant awardee or program coordinator, one of your primary concerns is measuring the success of your project or program. Firstly, to do this effectively, you need to engage the services of an experienced independent external evaluation service (like us). An evaluator can help you evaluate the impact of your work. However, it’s important to remember that the evaluation of your project or program doesn’t end with hiring an evaluator. Furthermore, you also need to engage in self-reflection to gain a deeper understanding of your work and identify areas where you can improve outcomes in the future.
In the book ‘Framework for Reflective Practice’, Professor Gary Rolfe and colleagues (2001) describe a useful framework for self-reflection that is based on three simple questions:
What? – describe a particular situation, then focus on achievements, consequences, responses, feelings, and any problems. Moreover, this is an opportunity to reflect on the data you have collected and identify any strengths or weaknesses in your program. You can ask yourself questions like:
Can you identify the goals of the program? Were they achieved? Additionally, List any outcomes of the program. Were they positive or negative? What were the consequences of the program? Did it have any unintended effects? What were the responses to the program? Were they positive or negative? What were your feelings about the program? Did you experience any challenges or successes?
So what? – discuss what you have learned about yourself, relationships, models, attitudes, cultures, actions, thoughts, understanding, and any improvements. What’s more, this is an opportunity to reflect on the impact of your program on yourself, your organization, and your community. Furthermore, you can ask yourself questions like:
What did I learn from this experience? How did the program impact my relationships with others? Did it challenge any of my assumptions or preconceptions? Did it expose me to new perspectives or ways of thinking? What improvements can I make to my program in the future?
Now what? – identify what you need to do in the future in order to improve future outcomes and develop your learning. Moreover, this is an opportunity to use the insights gained from your self-reflection to make concrete plans for the future. You can ask yourself questions like:
Are there steps can I take to improve the program in the future? What new strategies or approaches can I try? What resources do I need to implement these changes? How will I measure the success of these changes?
The reflective model
This reflective model is simple. Nonetheless, it’s important not to underestimate its power. Really tackling those three questions honestly and thoroughly will always lead to some surprising answers. By engaging in self-reflection, you can gain a deeper understanding of your work, identify areas where you can improve outcomes, and develop a plan for the future. In addition, this will help you evaluate your program more effectively, but it will also help you grow as a professional.
By asking yourself the questions “What?”, “So what?”, and “Now what?”, you can gain a deeper understanding of your work. Additionally, you can identify areas for improvement, and develop a plan for the future. Remember, evaluating your program doesn’t end with hiring an external evaluator – it also requires a willingness to engage in self-reflection and a commitment to continuous improvement.
We work with high-growth startups and organizations that support the startup and innovation ecosystem. We build highly specific non-dilutive funding menus, provide proposal preparation services, and measure outcomes of funding through evaluation. Schedule a consult call with us HERE.