Impact Assessment

The expected post-exercise impacts of a ParEvo exercise vary from exercise to exercise, depending on the individual facilitator’s objectives. As of 2022 10 06 these have included

  • Influencing the content of a strategic plan (1 exercise completed, 1 planned)
  • Lead to the publication of papers in an academic journal (2 exercises)
  • Inform the content of an evaluation (4 exercises)
  • Lead to the revision of risk management protocol (1 exercise in process)
  • Changes to plans for ensuring research uptake (1 exercise in process)

There are constraints on the extent to which the impact of these exercises can be identified by the platform administrator. Facilitators are not obliged to share exercise evaluation data, or information about the subsequent effects of their exercise. Publication of exercise data generated by the app itself can only be used by the administrator with the consent of the facilitator.  However, the administrator can continue to encourage facilitators to publish their own papers on the design and results of their own exercises.

At the platform level objectives are not exercise specific. These have included:

  • The development of new features in the ParEvo app. This was especially the case with six earliest exercises facilitated by the administrator. And has continued as a secondary objective thereafter. Visible improvements have included the development of a comment facility, a tagging facility, a leaderboard, and more flexible evaluation options.
  • Further exercises by first-time facilitators. This has been the case with four facilitators, leading to six additional exercises to date.
  • Requests by other organisations wanting to use ParEvo for the first time. Four new organisations were registered as users in 2022, with exercises planned in the next 12 months.
  • Accumulation of data from multiple exercises that is sufficient to enable analyses of exercise parameters and how they affect exercise outcomes. This paper reflects early developments towards this objective.
  • Publication of papers about ParEvo in academic journals and books. Six are in process to date.
  • Recovery of investment costs, through payments for technical support provided to organisations using ParEvo. This has been underway since early 2022, although pro bono technical support for first time users remains the norm, as does free use of the app itself.

Objectives for the platform have changed over time.  With the earliest exercises the main objective was to ensure that the web application functioned as expected.  Then more attention was given to the development of evaluation options, within the app itself, and through the use of third-party surveys e.g., SurveyMonkey.  In the last twelve months more emphasis has been given to ensuring sufficient post-exercise facilitated discussion amongst the participants, to work through the implications of the exercise. This needs to continue. More encouragement is also being given to exercise facilitators to articulate their objectives for their exercises before they start.  Both facilitators did so in the two recent CSER exercises.

On a more continuous basis, it has always been intended that knowledge accumulated from exercises completed to date will be distilled and documented in the supporting website available to all users, and others (ParEvo, 2022).  This website now includes a framework for thinking about the implications of different alternative futures, as classified using the criteria of desirability and likelihood, shown in table 1. 

Storylines are:UndesirableDesirable
LikelyPrevent beforehand, mitigate afterwardsCompare and harmonise with pre-existing plans
UnlikelyMonitor any possible changes in their statusEnable beforehand, exploit afterwards
Table 1:  Response alternatives available to different types of futures 

The development of similar frameworks using other evaluation dimensions, such as equity and sustainability, also need to be considered.