One of the types of workshop that I particularly like facilitating are review or evaluation workshops (the subtle difference between which we will deal with in another post!). There are hundreds of different methods and tools to do these kinds of evaluations. One of my favourites is called Spokes. If you take a look at the picture below, you will see fairly quickly why it is called spokes, (assuming my artwork is up to scratch) as it should look like the wheel of a bike with its spokes. This is most definitely not something that I invented, but something that I came across several years ago and have used quite a few times.
So, how does it work?
Are you sitting comfortably, then off we go……
Let’s pretend that last year, as a result of a problem solving workshop, staff in a small business identified areas that they wanted to change following a period of low motivation and a lack of productivity. This year, an evaluation workshop was carried out to see how much progress had been made in improving these issues. The staff from the problem solving workshop were the participants. As part of the evaluation workshop, the spokes exercise was used.
The spokes diagram has the areas for improvement written around the outside, for example “Sharing of progress reports”. The participants (the staff) were asked to discuss the improvements and mark along the line how far towards the goal they thought the company had moved by sticking dots on the lines. The nearer the dots are to the outside of the wheel the greater the progress made. The centre of the circle represents the starting point ie where the staff were immediately following the problem solving workshop.
We can pretend (since this is a completely made up example) that the picture above is the end result of the spokes evaluation exercise. You can see how much progress the participants thought the company had made. In this example “Internal Communication” seems to be closest to getting where they want it to be, whereas “Sharing of Progress reports” seems not to have improved much at all.
This can be done in teams or individually, but there should be discussion about what everyone thinks both during and after the exercise. You could use different shaped dots for different people or teams and each person (or each team if doing it in teams) should put one dot on each line. The reason there are different colours for the different lines is that if you have a lot of people or a lot of issues, you can keep track of all the dots. There are deliberately no percentages or markers on the lines, as the overall effect is a visual one where you can see where the dots cluster and get an overall impression of what the staff are feeling.
There are all sorts of ways this can be adapted and you can add as many spokes (lines) as you like and get creative with marker pens, different stickers etc. It really depends on what you want to do. This is a simple tool and you would probably use it as part of a larger workshop, but I like it, it is easy and effective to use.