- When to use an evidence safari
- How to do an evidence safari
An introduction to Evidence Safari
An evidence safari lets everyone involved in a project look at all the data, evidence and knowledge surrounding a policy issue. An evidence safari sets a level playing field and can help a team to see the gaps in their knowledge that may need to be filled with further research, or look at all the evidence available and form a direction for the project or generate ideas in response to challenges. It is also helpful in clearly grounding the project, and other exercises like using personas, in evidence.
This tool works best alongside other tools like challenge cards, hope and fear exercises and journey mapping.
When to use an Evidence Safari
You could use an evidence safari at the beginning of a policy problem or project or after you have collected together fresh evidence. At the beginning, the ‘diagnose’ phase, this will help make sure that everyone involved has a similar understanding of a project, and will help bring in new evidence and data. At the develop phase, this will help people discover any fresh insight (e.g. data science, stakeholder interviews or ethnography) gathered and help inspire ideas.
In most cases, you will need to spend some time making sure that there is a large amount of data available to everyone involved in the safari, and that the data is presented in an easy to understand way. This does not mean giving everyone a report for them to read. You should break down the data into quick facts or graphs, photos or quotes. This can take some time.
If you have limited time and data, you could do a low-fi version where you ask everyone in the workshop to write down three to five bits of evidence or tacit knowledge. Then, ask them to group them into different clusters in different areas of the room. And hey presto! A pop-up safari. This is not as robust, but would give you indications of where to go and find the evidence.
How to do an Evidence Safari
1. Get the evidence
You should begin by collecting all the evidence available. You should break down your evidence into different aspects that you may wish to explore in your evidence safari. These could be:
- Official Government statistics and reports
- Stakeholder reports
- Academic research
- Images from a service safari (where you go and experience the service or policy yourself, a bit like mystery shopping)
- Quotations from qualitative research
- Innovation and ideas (including from other countries)
- Media stories and social media views on the policy area
- How people are talking about it on Twitter
2. Make the evidence easy and simple to view
Once you have collected all of the evidence you should break it down and easy to read.
When you run your evidence safari it will be placed on walls for people to walk around and explore. You will therefore need to make sure that the evidence is easy to understand, read and view. You should make sure that the font is big enough and each sheet of A4 paper you stick to the wall has one piece of evidence on it. Using different colours to highlight the different evidence themes can help.
Breaking down large amounts of data and turning it into simple and easy to use evidence can take some time, but is essential to a safari working well.
3. Display the evidence
Find a space with enough room for everyone involved in the project and knowledge safari to walk around relatively freely. Then stick each sheet of evidence to the wall.
If you have grouped your evidence into themes you will want to use a different wall or part of a wall for each evidence theme. This is so different groups have space to discuss the evidence they are looking at without being crowded out by the next group. You will need to make sure that the themes are easy to see and understand.
4. Organise your workshop
Before you begin make sure you have A3 paper, post-it notes and sharpies.
5. Give people tasks
When people arrive for the evidence safari break them down into groups. These groups will be given an aspect of the policy problem to focus on. You could ask people to look for opportunities and barriers or to examine the experience of a policy. Some example questions are:
- What is the current experience of the policy?
- What are the drivers of this policy problem?
- Who are the people that experience this policy?
- Who will be the future users of this policy?
- What future demographic changes could impact this policy?
- What are other countries / organisations doing?
- What are people’s views on this policy?
You could also give groups different personas, and ask them to go round and pick out the relevant information that would help to create a user journey for them.
People should then move around the evidence in groups, spending about 3-5 minutes with each theme.
They should collect their findings, views or thoughts on post-it notes or paper as they move.
6. Feedback to everyone
After everyone has looked at the evidence, each group should feedback what they found to everyone else. The aim of this is to ensure that knowledge is shared from multiple perspectives. You could use a challenge setting exercise to help people think outside of the box. It might also be useful to focus on what evidence was missing from the safari, as this could be an area that will need more research
Journey mapping and challenge setting exercises can work well after an evidence safari.