Interview with Evangelos Vayias, Head of Digital Strategy & Governance at Eurobank.
When an innovation project or transformation project in an organisation has failed the project and its organisation tends to be evaluated.
But why is it that when a transformation project has been successful then everyone often just moves on to the next project?
That question has been bothering Evangelos Vayias. Evangelos is currently Head of Digital Strategy & Governance at Eurobank and through his career he has worked with innovation and transformation in multiple fast-moving industries.
In a conversation with me he elaborated: “After all these transformation projects that I have been involved in or watched closely I have been thinking: There is almost never enough time set aside for evaluation and reflections once the project is done. And that is such a shame.”
And yes, it is a shame.
Because evaluations, as the name implies – are valuable.
The word “evaluate” actually come from combining the word for “out of” (ex) and the word “valuer” (to value). So to “evaluate” is to “take out value out of something.”
When I asked Evangelos why specifically innovation and transformation projects so often lack proper evaluations he smiled and said: “Because people who work with innovation are often so focused on moving forward that they find it hard to look back.”
I would tend to agree with that observation.
But then he elaborated: “But evaluating is not about looking backwards – it’s about harnessing the lessons learnt about what went well (and what should be avoided next time) so that you are better prepared when you move into the next project. Evaluation is actually a forward looking process.”
As mentioned above it seems that project that have gone well are the ones that especially could do with more evaluations. Or to quote Evangelos: “We are quick to evaluate why something went wrong, but sometimes it’s even more valuable to figure out what went right.”
When I asked Evangelos what companies could do to become more innovative by evaluating better he thought for a while and told me: “Make evaluations fun! Very often evaluations – if they are even done – are a questionnaire sent out to everyone on the project. But filling out a questionnaire feels like taking a test. No inspiration comes from filling out a form. No creative inspiration comes out of them either.
No. evaluations should be run as inspiring brainstorming sessions. Why not have an Evaluation Party!?”
An Evaluation Party. Now we are talking.
All explorers will look back at their last adventure not as a way of re-living the past, not to be reminiscing, not to remember the good old days – but to think about what value was gained from the last expedition that can be used when planning for the next. Remember that.
To evaluate is not to look back – it’s to look forward by understanding what you could do better next time.
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