Discover more from Evaluation and Value for Investment
A capability-building pathway
And a menu of ways we can work together
In this post I share a prototype pathway for consultants and clients to work together to build evaluation capability, one project at a time. I welcome your feedback.
As a public policy consultant I’ve narrowed my service offering over the years, specialising in a “very particular set of skills” (though not the same ones Liam Neeson was talking about). My focus is now evaluation and Value for Investment (VfI) capability building. Examples include training, technical advice, on-the-job mentoring and peer review.
Consultants take on a variety of roles
I don’t know who said it first, but consultants are generally hired for one of three reasons: expertise, independence, or labour. My primary domain is the first one, though since the focus is evaluation, it also includes elements of the second.
This leaves room for a broad spectrum of roles. Champion, Hiel and McLendon (1990) developed a framework comprising nine consulting roles. These roles were organised in a grid pattern representing a three-dimensional gradation of consultant responsibility for project results, consultant responsibility for client growth, and consultant intervention:
I’ve adapted this model to pave an evaluation capability building pathway. It addresses the ‘supply side’, primarily responding to rather than building demand. I’ve written it in the first person but anybody can use it to navigate any consultant-client relationship with a capability building component.
Ways we can work together
My adaptation of the model is flipped horizontally, so as we move from left to right I’m supporting your ownership of the evaluation, and as we move from bottom to top I’m supporting your professional and/or organisational growth. We can start at any point on the grid, and you can select which roles you need and want from me. On a capability building pathway, we would progress toward the top right of the diagram, to critical friend and cheerleader.
Wherever we are on the pathway, it’s a collaboration and we’re learning from each other. VfI is a developing area of practice and I’m not doing it alone. This is a multi-disciplinary space that thrives on pooling lifeworlds and expertise to problem-solve and innovate together.
I regard VfI as a network good: its value increases the more people use, share and adapt it in their areas of work. This is why I’m committed to sharing open-access resources and supporting its growth.
I’ve adapted this model in a way that makes sense to me, but the acid test is whether it makes sense to you. Let me know what you think! Subject to your feedback, I plan to refine the model and add it to the services page of my website (update: done! www.julianking.co.nz/services/).
Many thanks to Heidi Peterson for helping me refine this model. Errors and omissions are my responsibility.