Co-creating Our Story: A Hybrid Participatory Case Approach to Evaluating and Accelerating Organizational Change
At Fetzer, our "Community of Freedom" is at the heart of all that we do. For three hours each week, our full staff stops work and either together or individually cultivates their spiritual path—however they define it. We explore personal spiritual interests, share new ideas and work, build connections with teammates and partners, and learn about topics from emotional intelligence and mindfulness to spiritual parenting. We believe that providing the space to develop such a community will help us become a more effective organization by creating a culture of love and authenticity.
When it came time to assess how well we were living into this work, we wanted to do so in a way that reflected our values. This report tells the story of our attempts to design an inclusive evaluation approach that would result in a cohesive story in which staff of all positions and lived experience would hear their voices reflected and treated as valid. More importantly than the report, we wanted a process that surfaced competing narratives in a way that enabled staff and leadership to understand and grapple with each other’s experience and interpretations without putting those with less power at risk. And finally, we wanted an approach that would enable staff to draw insights and generate ideas about how, together, they might shape a change process and culture shift to strengthen our Community of Freedom. In this report, we share the benefits and pitfalls of our efforts.