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Inciter | Blog Masonry
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Getting Your Data System to Play Well with Others

Data integration isn’t always a high tech solution. Sometimes, it’s more about just combining some new cutting edge tools, with your existing data management strategies, in order to create a system that pulls everything together. (And data systems can play well with others without having to tangle with any "playground bullies", either.) One of our clients had a data integration challenge that we encounter almost every day. They were working with several partners to collect information about human trafficking victims throughout the county. Some partners were child welfare agencies, some were domestic violence shelters, some provided legal services, etc. All of them had their own ways of collecting and reporting on data, based on their own purposes. Our client needed information from all of those providers so that they could...

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EYEO 2019

What is EYEO?EYEO is a festival held at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. I say festival because it involves not only top notch international speakers, but also things like karaoke, playing with arts and crafts, trying out virtual reality experiments, and going to cool places like Aria and the Machine Shop. It’s changed a bit over the years, as it featured more information visualization and interactive art speakers early on, versus more machine learning and artificial intelligence speakers in these last couple of years. No matter what topic is featured, I always come away from EYEO with inspiration and insights, true to their tag line “Converge to Inspire”. In case you didn’t want to hang out in the Walker (very cool building) and hear about building free-form circuit sculptures...

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Good Tech Fest 2019

Inciter on the RoadFor the last few years I’ve been looking for a conference where folks who love technology, data, and social services come together to talk about how to collect the right information to improve lives and change the world by finding better ways to collect and analyze data related to outcomes. GoodTech Fest is it. What is GoodTech Fest?GoodTech Fest is a conference for those doing real life, applied work in the social sector. It’s a great mix of technology nerds and data geeks (both intentional and accidental) and practitioners. The conference speakers do a great job of making all three areas -- tech, data, social practice -- accessible. Topics are strategic and practical at the same time. This year that included things such as how to ensure...

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How to Have Great Data: When People and Technology Both Do Their Part

 The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Getting Great Data Week. All posts on AEA365 this week are contributed by evaluators who came together to write about the theme of getting data that is accurate, timely and, most of all, useful. Our own Taj Carson contributed this timely post: https://aea365.org/blog/getting-great-data-week-how-to-have-great-data-when-people-and-technology-both-do-their-part-by-taj-carson/ We hope you'll check it out and let us know what you think!...

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Evaluating Advocacy Efforts: How Do You Measure Social Change?

So you read the last blog post in this series, about asking the right questions of your social change efforts, right? (You did, right? We know it's been a minute.) If you did, you know that there is just as much strategy involved in deciding what data you need to collect as there is in carrying out the strategy itself! It’s one thing (and a very important thing) to know what you want to collect and why. But the next big question is. . .HOW? Engaging hearts and minds to actually care about something, breaking through the social media din to get people to actually act -- that’s hard enough. Once you think you'd done that, how do you go about measuring the indicators that those actions led to policy change?...

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Get the Word out! Reaching Study Participants

by Angela Lao Back in the spring and summer, Inciter conducted focus groups in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. to gather feedback on marketing tools that were being developed by a client for ours for their public health campaign, which was focused on eating behaviors.  As an intern at Inciter, I was tasked with helping to recruit participants for this project, and I was eager to find any method that would attract as many participants as possible. Ultimately our team used several techniques that together were successful! In this blog I wanted to share some tips and techniques that I found to be most helpful.  Finding your best method(s) to get the word out!  Posting Flyers: Make sure you have an eye-catching image and event details in large font for people...

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“Can I Have a Moment of Your Time?” Overcoming Survey Burn Out by Showing Value

“Please be sure to go to the website on the bottom of the receipt to fill out our survey!”  If you’ve ever gone grocery shopping, eaten fast food, or shopped at a major retailer, you’ve heard these words spoken by a cashier at some point. In the age of big data, seemingly no venue is immune from solicitations to take a survey of some sort, be it online or in-person.  With this oversaturation of survey propositions, the question for the consumer then becomes: what’s the value of actually completing this survey – is it really worth my time? And as evaluators faced with this situation, in which our potential survey respondents are already feeling burnt out (and even more so if they’re part of an over-researched community) the question is...

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We Need a Data Nerd

Do you love colored pens? Making to do lists? Do you like the idea of working with social service programs that help make people’s lives better? Do you have a killer work ethic, but seek a relaxed work environment?Inciter could be for you, if. . . You are described by friends and co-workers as "kick ass," in the nicest possible way. You are competent, creative, trustworthy, engaging, organized, and an all around people person. You love numbers and data, but you understand that people who provide social services don’t, and often make a mess of them. And you’d like to be the one who helps them sort it out. You are a fiend for details, enjoy entering and analyzing data, organizing minutiae and making order out of chaos. You are a juggling genius and master of...

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HIRING: DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AND EVALUATION

At Inciter, we help clients measure impact, communicate, and fundraise through research, visualization, and data systems. We’re proud of our exceptional research and evaluation expertise (to say nothing of our enthusiasm for color coding), and we use all of that to make research productive and even (dare we say) fun. We’re not just a bunch of number crunchers sitting behind computers ready to throw data at people and send them on their way. We love what we do. We have a passion for data, and for making a difference. As a consulting firm, we work with clients large and small, including foundations and nonprofits. We we work with clients in many areas, including public health, education, housing, workforce development, and many others. Most (but not all) of our clients are located...

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Dispatched to China

Over the past several years I've had the privilege of splitting my time between Inciter (until recently, CRC) -- approximately half time each as an evaluator and as program staff at an arts and human services nonprofit, Make Studio. Throughout this time, I've found that wearing two hats and having two sets of experiences to draw from has helped me to work smarter and better (only sometimes harder), for the benefit of my evaluation clients and program recipients. On the occasion of the recent launch of our new name, Inciter, I wanted to share an experience that I had this spring that reflects how my two working worlds can collide. And, gives an idea of how we at Inciter pride ourselves on applying our "evaluation-in-the-real-world" lens wherever we are. Putting this...

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