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An Easy Way to Evaluate Your Programming with Design Thinking

Have you caught your breath after the end of your summer reading program? It’s time to reflect!



Here’s a quick way a group can evaluate a program or project with many facets, like the summer reading program at your library. All you need are opinionated staff members, paper, post-it’s, & masking tape. The opinionated staff members will be the easiest to find 😉


1. PREP THE FACETS Write the facets of the program you want to evaluate on several post-it’s. You’ll want to write the same facet on several post it’s (I did 3x each for a group of twelve librarians) and repeat for all the facets. For example, when evaluating the summer reading program we had post-it’s that read “start and end dates” and “prize options.”


2. MARK A SPECTRUM Make a large line on the wall with masking tape and add three pieces of paper at the beginning middle & end. The papers can be labeled very simply, like stop lights (red, green, & yellow), temperatures (cold, lukewarm, or hot) or can be more complex like the ones here (the “best” one reads “I think this program achieves the relevant goals really well and doesn’t need much change moving forward.”) (We’d reviewed the relevant goals and had a list on hand!)


3. SHARE OPINIONS Pass out the post it’s to your group & invite them to share their opinion on the facets by placing them along the spectrum. This method is fantastic because it helps less assertive staff members share their thoughts in a way they might otherwise be unlikely to do!


4. FIND PATTERNS After everyone is finished, try to spot patterns together. Where do we agree? Where are there differences of opinion? A lack of consensus can be particularly helpful for illustrating there is no one “correct” way or method!


5. MAKE A PLAN What does that mean for the program or project? What can or should we reasonably change? What did we do really well?


Voila! You’ve used design thinking to gather a visual & cooperative evaluation of your program.

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