Climbing the mountain of more engaging presentations: an evaluation fable By Sabrina Khan, Rachel Douglas, Nicole Spence

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When the CES 2017 call for presentations was released, our team quickly recognised the conference themes of innovation, action, and reflection within our lived experiences of conducting an internal evaluation of a communicable disease program restructuring initiative in BC’s regional Fraser Health Authority.

The internal evaluator role in today’s climate of “do more with less” can sometimes feel like a fable-worthy series of impossible tasks, so the storytelling type of presentation was our favoured method. Not unlike the challenges posed by today’s landscape of resource constraints, this type of presentation brought new challenges to our team. Along the same lines, these drivers for change also presented opportunities for creativity and innovation similar to our evaluation: finding sufficient evaluator capacity to design and implement the evaluation, engage staff (ourselves!) when they are already struggling with their workload, and promote action on results in the context of multiple competing demands.
Tasked with preparing a short skit that translated these three common challenges along with potential solutions into a fable was a fun and enriching experience. With some innovative thinking, we transformed a region that serves over 1.68 million people, spanning from the east in Boston Bar to the west in Delta, to a mystical land with moats, a castle, and its own mountain to climb to better health.
Overall, we really enjoyed conjuring up the characters and land that became the backdrop to our presentation. Reframing the issues in this mystical land helped translate the real world tools and strategies used in the evaluation to foster action on recommendations, and created a platform for participants to share their own mystical strategies for working within a climate of fiscal constraint – whether that be infertile land or challenges with meeting a budget.