Episode 1.20: Data




In episode twenty, Tim and Tuesday dig into the substance of change—how to cultivate the kind of big-picture view that validates a good forward path. Most leaders have a few quantified and qualified perspectives on the current reality, but how can we extend our line of sight to future-making?

Together, Tim Merry and Tuesday Ryan-Hart are THE OUTSIDE—systems change and equity facilitators who bring the fresh air necessary to organize movements, organizations, and collaborators forward for progress, surfacing new mindsets for greater participation and shared impact.

1.20 —— SHOW NOTES

  • Tim: We’ve been learning a lot about data, particularly over the last 12 months, as we work with major initiatives that bring in large consultancy firms who are generating data for us. There’s a real opportunity to combine the process expertise that we bring in with the data and analysis that comes out of evaluation work to support really powerful interventions in very large systems.

  • Tues: There’s a really honest reaction to deductive reasoning that so often accompanies data capture. It is a legitimate reaction but for us as we get into bigger and bigger systems change, where data is simply part of the environment, we had to figure out how we would work with it and use it. We’ve been learning about marrying these two different streams (narrative and data). 

  • Tim: Because people think data has the answer, there can be a misconception that if we do really good data analysis we are going to know what to do. In our experience, the more data analysis we do, the better informed your decisions are but they are not easier to make. 

  • Tues: The request for data, or more data, is often a block to get to work. But good data pushes you further into inquiry and allows you to meet the system where they are.

  • Tim: To provoke, exhilarate and inform where we take action.

  • Tues: Developmental Evaluation moves beyond summative evaluation as it supports a shift in mindset towards experimentation, learning as you go, to iterate.

  • Tues: Summative and Developmental Evaluation walk together quite well. It’s not a good or bad, an either/or, it’s a both/and. They need to be aligned and work together.

  • Tim: The Hunger Project that Tues worked on is an incredible summary of multiple iterations into a highly complex intervention into food systems.

  • Tues: Developmental Evaluation provides us with a much fuller way to support these processes and support the leaders that allow them to try something new.

  • Tim: If data is shared and evolving overtime could it become a ‘shared currency’ — could it unite us in a fragmented system that is struggling to meet the needs of the people it is trying to serve?

  • Poem: “Endymion, Book I” by John Keats

    A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
    Its loveliness increases; it will never
    Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
    A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
    Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
    Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
    A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
    Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
    Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
    Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
    Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
    Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
    From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
    Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
    For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
    With the green world they live in; and clear rills
    That for themselves a cooling covert make
    'Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,
    Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
    And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
    We have imagined for the mighty dead;
    All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
    An endless fountain of immortal drink,
    Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.
    (continue reading here)

  • Song: “Happy Birthday” by Stevie Wonder


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Find the song we played in today’s show—and every song we’ve played in previous shows—on the playlist. Just search ‘Find the Outside’ on Spotify.


Duration: 34:03
Produced by: Mark Coffin @ Sound Good Studios
Theme music: Gary Blakemore
Episode cover image: source