Designing Evaluations That are Used

A Workshop with

Mark Cabaj

 17 February 2017, Wellington

(Please note: The Auckland event previously advertised is sold out)

Utilisation-focused Evaluation – a workshop to Design Evaluations That Are Used


A recent study found that only about 10% of evaluations were actually used by the people they were meant to assist. Other research confirms that many organisations do a great deal of measuring and reporting, but that they are ‘drowning in data’ and much of it stays on a shelf.

It is increasingly clear that traditional evaluation practices can short-circuit – rather than enable – community change efforts. The concepts and techniques of traditional evaluation were designed to address simple – rather than today’s complex – problems.

How can we improve on this?

This workshop introduces participants to the concept of “utilisation-focused evaluation” and employs a series of participatory exercises to explore the factors that affect the probabilities that an evaluation that will be used, and the principles to guide ‘utilisation-focused’ evaluation. It will introduce people to two practical aides-for-action they can use from the get-go to design evaluations of their work.

Developmental Evaluation

For many years evaluation practice has tended to focus on three broad purposes. Formative evaluation is used to help improve a program or policy. Summative evaluation is employed to judge the merit or worth of a program or policy, to determine whether it should be sustained, discontinued or scaled up. Accountability evaluation is used to assess the extent to which an organisation or group is ‘implementing a detailed model with fidelity’ to an already approved – often rigid – blueprint.

There are, however, plenty of ‘developmental’ situations where neither formative, summative or accountability evaluation are appropriate and may even be counterproductive. These include: creating an entirely new program or policy out of thin air, adapting a proven program or policy in a fast moving environment, importing a program or policy that proved effective in once context into a new one, scaling up a successful model, dealing with complex issues where solutions are uncertain and/or stakeholders are not on the same page.

In addition to introducing utilisation-focused evaluation, participants will also gain an understanding of the key concepts, principles and practices of developmental evaluation – a new and fast growing approach to helping decision-makers navigate developmental situations with rapid feedback, critical thinking and rigour sense-making – and share some emerging resources that they may find helpful in their own work.

This workshop will explore five practical tools that can be used to produce ‘utilization-focused’ evaluations that will yield real, meaningful results – evaluation user grid, evaluation user interviewer, evaluation user profiles, evaluation user map and evaluation simulations. 

Who Should Attend

The CEO’s, Directors, Senior Managers, Advisors,  Policy Analysts, Community Development Officers, Board Members and Trustees of;

  • Community Organisations
  • District Councils
  • Not-For-Profit Organisations
  • Health Providers
  • Tertiary Institutions
  • Trusts and Community Funding
  • Government Departments

What other delegates have said about Mark’s workshops;

“With his vast experience, Mark is right on top of an emerging field.”

“One of the best workshops I have ever attended.”

“Mark was very engaging, and it was extremely valuable having someone with so much knowledge & expertise.”

“He provided us with invaluable information, and the day overall was excellent. It was great to network with others facing the same challenges.”

Mark Cabaj

About Mark

Mark is an Associate of Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement and Vibrant Communities Canada. Mark is also the President of the company From Here to There.

A ‘thought leader’ focusing on community and complexity, social innovation, and strategic learning and evaluation, Mark’s current focus is on developing practical ways to assist groups understand, plan and evaluate policies, programs and initiatives that address complex issues.

These include challenges such as neighbourhood renewal, poverty and homelessness, community safety, educational achievement and health. He is particularly focused on expanding the ideas and practice of developmental evaluation – a new approach to evaluation which emphasizes learning and design thinking in emerging and sometimes fast-moving environments.

Mark brings experience from a variety of sectors. In the 1990s, he served as the Foreign Assistance Coordinator for Grants in Poland’s Ministry of Privatisation, was the Mission Coordinator for the United Nations Development Program’s first regional economic development initiative in Eastern Europe, and worked with International Privatisation Group-Price Waterhouse. In Canada, he was the Coordinator of the Waterloo Region’s Opportunities 2000 project – an initiative that won provincial, national and international awards for its multi-sectoral approach to poverty reduction – and served briefly as the Executive Director of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet). From 2002-2010, he was the Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Canada and a Director at Tamarack.

Investment & Registration

The workshop is from 9.00am until 4.30pm.

The investment is $350.00 pp + GST, per workshop

Talk to your colleagues and take advantage of our “Additional attendee from the same organisation discount”. For additional attendees from the same organisation price is $320.00 + GST.

Included in the registration:

  • Attendance at the workshop
  • Networking with others in your sector or field
  • Welcoming coffee/tea, morning and afternoon tea, and lunch
  • Skills and learning
  • Inspiration!

You may pay by credit card or ask to be invoiced.

There are 3 steps in the online booking process. You will receive an automated confirmation email and if you have any issues or questions about your booking, please contact Faye Johnson on 06 878 3456 or email

What happens if you have to cancel?

Should you be unable to attend, a substitute delegate is welcome to attend at no extra cost. Alternatively, a refund less $50 + GST service charge per registrant will be made for cancellations received in writing (email, letter or fax) up to ten working days prior to the Workshop. Regrettably, no refund can be made less than ten working days prior to the event. However, you will be sent the Workshop materials upon request.

Delegates are responsible for their own travel/accommodation bookings and no compensation will be made should the Workshop be rescheduled or cancelled.

Please note: GROW Ltd reserves the right to make any amendments that we may deem to be in the best interest of the Workshop – it is however very unlikely and we will notify you as soon as possible should this occur.



Friday 17 February 2017:  9.00am – 4.30pm


Brentwood Hotel

16 Kemp St

Kilbirnie, Wellington 6022


The venue has 100 free car parks so guests can park on-site. There is also free unmetered parking along Kemp Street.

Airport Transfer from Wellington Airport:

The Hotel offers a free 24 hour airport shuttle service. Once, you have collected your luggage you can call the Hotel freephone number 0508 273 689 and the shuttle will be at the airport generally within 5-10 minutes to collect you. There is also a Freephone located in the Baggage Claim area of the airport. Dial 3 to connect with the Brentwood Hotel.

Booking Accommodation:

Brentwood Hotel

Please call  0508 273 689 (0508 BRENTWOOD) to make your reservation and quote the group booking number 78435.

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