You Gotta Have A Dream: five reflections on Occupy

1/ Framing ‘we’ broadly I saw (punk band) The Damned at the Lyceum in 1981. During the set, the guitarist, Captain Sensible, took time to criticise (fellow punks) The Clash for selling out. As it goes, a year later Captain Sensible himself was on Top Of The Pops performing (i.e. miming to) his hit cover […]

What the data can tell us

In his book Analytic Activism, Dave Karpf looks at how information from digital media feeds into decisions about tactics, strategy and power. The book sets out how data is, and could be, used at these different levels – 1/ Tactics Data can be particularly useful when considering tactical choices. Developing your approaches through testing is […]

More is less

In the Ramones documentary, End of The Century, there’s an interview with Johnny about working with producer Phil Spector. Talking about recording the opening chord to ‘Rock’n’Roll High School’ he says, about Spector, “he spent 12 hours listening to it over and over again … [in the end] the chord came out sounding ok, but […]

The value iceberg

This post sets out some of the arguments from a discussion paper I have co-written with Rhonda Schlangen, recently published by BetterEvaluation. The paper itself, and an associated blog, is available here.   Organisations have to make choices about how best to deploy resources. On the face of it, using Value for Money-type frameworks helps […]

Theories of change vs dart throwing chimps

I wouldn’t ideally call it a ‘theory of change’, but I think it can be really helpful to develop – at an organisational level – a shared view of how change happens, the power dynamics at play, and the best ways to intervene. The absence of this sort of analysis can be problematic for many […]

Every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser

  The kid spread his hand and then began to blush But his face turned pale when he saw my queen-high flush   T Bone Walker there, describing how to play a winning hand of poker. Though in fact (a) he’s not actually talking about poker and (b) it’s rarely that simple. According to Nate […]

Glories and triumphs shrunk

The ‘results agenda’ – in its various manifestations – continues to gain momentum. ‘Results agenda’ is an umbrella term that means different things in different contexts but I think it’s fair to say there’s a common basic idea. It’s about gathering robust evidence about results and then focusing on ‘what works’. So far, so good […]

Evaluator says evaluation is a waste of time, never works again

The history of our knowledge about, and understanding of, the world can be summarised (amongst other ways) as follows: Speculation. Plausibility. Certainty. Uncertainty. Unknowability. Aristotle suggested that stones fall to earth because they are trying to get back to their home. Fire travels upwards because it lives in the heavens. He invented logic and was […]