This little framework has never failed me. It treats the workshop planning like a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes you are clear what you want to achieve, sometimes you just know what you would like to do. Using this framework you do the easy bits first and then fill in the rest. The document is an example of a real workshop. Drop me an email if it doesn't make sense.
It sometimes strikes me odd that despite evaluation being so focussed on values, so few evaluation techniques are designed specifically to find out what people's values really are. In particular those "values" that come into being when people feel under pressure. Here is an approach I based on some Bob Dick work using the concepts of Chris Argyris and Don Schon. I developed this as a workshop for the Australasian Evaluation Society (AES) a few years ago. It is quite powerful, so use it with some caution.
Here's another AES workshop, written with Patricia Rogers of CIRCLE, and David Turner who was then at the New Zealand Department of Labour. This time it focusses on how evaluation can contribute to "organisational learning". It primarily focuses on how to tweak an evaluation so that it has maximum influence on subsequent events. The workshop also uses part of the Strategic Planning tool described in the Tools section of my website
This is a workshop I designed with James Baines of Associates for a client who wanted a reverse engineered strategy. A what ?
The client was a government agency charged with developing a national strategy. Most strategy approaches work towards some kind of common vision or goal, and then develop practical steps or projects within that move towards that goal.
However, in this case what the agency wanted was to develop a strategic framework around all the really good stuff that was happening out there in the real world.
So this is what we came up with. People really liked these workshops. I suspect the main reason was that unlike many strategy workshops which become a bit airy fairy, this one was strongly based on what people were actually doing or planning to do. That of course didn't prevent us asking some good questions about all that activity ....