Clayton Lord

In four days, I have spoken to over 500 people in Boston, New York, DC (which was Livestreamed), and Philadelphia about Counting New Beans and it has been an amazing set of conversations.

Artistic directors, marketers, development people, funders, government representatives—everyone has engaged in a thoughtful and provocative conversation about impact assessment and it’s role in the field.

But I think of all the points raised over the last week, the one that has resonated most with me is around the value and rightness or wrongness of setting artistic goals and then measuring to them.

In Philadelphia, one artistic director admitted to being scared at the implications of being able to measure impact. Alan Brown, speaking from the stage, related a story of an artistic leader in Australia, who upon hearing about impact assessment said, “Great, I’m going to get a 3.5 on spiritual fulfillment this year, and you’re going to expect me to get a 3.6 next year.”

And, just a few minutes ago, I got an extremely well-articulated (and overall very positive and flattering) email from Jason Loewith, executive director of National New Play Network that included a very interesting fleshing out of the fear an artistic leader might have of an outside force, like say a funder, trying to exert control over artistic product through impact assessment. Read the rest of this entry »