October 12, 2008

Finding results not always easy

My journalism background helped me reply to a post on GSUSA's newly launched discussion board.

Girl Scouts elect and send delegates to a National Council meeting every three years. In 2005, many came early to participate in Open Space. There's another Open Space to kick off the meeting this year. Some are asking why repeat it if there's no evidence of results from the 2005 conversations.

That evidence had started being discussed in another thread. Plus there's a video final report that I think shows someone was listening.

And I think in all parts of our lives the only assurance we have that issues we bring up won't be ignored is if we take the responsibility for making sure they are not.

Here's the rest of my reply:

I wasn't there in 2005. But as a "recovering journalist," I know I often was/am frustrated when trying to follow up on the success or failure of a project because:

  • No one kept track of what happened after the big campaign, or the community discussions.
  • Or I couldn't find out who was keeping score
  • Or that person couldn't share the results
  • Or the outcomes weren't measurable. For instance, how do you measure influencing a person's thought process?

Do we know if something said at the 2005 Open Space triggered an idea or action months later? Did seeing what happened at Open Space lead to the concepts of Open Space being used to solve another problem?

I ended by saying I hope we hear from folks about the 2005 and 2008 conversations here so we can all share what we know.

Yet, I don't expect many responses because I don't think people connect what was said in 2005 with actions in 2008. I'll base that on years of watching too committees coming up with plans to breathe life into downtowns.
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