Co-creation is about meaningfully engaging people to create mutually valued outcomes together, collaborating towards a common goal. In our practice, we ask questions, investigate, apply tools, collect data, and measure results. We combine expertise and objectivity to understand different perspectives, realities and interests. Is it possible that we inherently privilege our worldviews? Do we make space to truly honor and incorporate the knowledge, values, culture and lived experiences of those we engage with?
Evaluators often operate from a position of privilege and influence – representing a funder or the agency responsible for delivering a program. Traditionally, clients or target groups are seen as the objects of evaluation. Approaches like developmental evaluation, participatory evaluation and empowerment evaluation have attempted to address these power imbalances through a variety of methods; but collaboration and consultation often fall short of true partnership.
With our theme of co-creation, we hope to explore the concept of evaluation without dominion. Co-creation challenges traditional power relationships. It requires an evaluator to be a methodological expert, facilitator, critic, ally and strategic thinker who can move evaluation to enable change.while sharing jurisdiction. It speaks to developing true partnerships, to building evaluations from the ground up and to acknowledging that other methods and perspectives have equal weight to our own.