Tag Archives: spider diagrams

Final project evaluation summary

6 Mar

On my final day at the Conserve India office key members of the Conserve India team and I undertook a simple project evaluation. Together we reflected on our experiences of the project and made some group decisions on what we felt we’d achieved.

Remember our objectives? How we aimed to:

  • create new valuable products out of Commonwealth Games waste – establishing Delhi 2010 as the first Games to upcycle event waste
  • enhance Conserve India’s capacity to improve the wellbeing of Delhi’s poorest communities by selling more of their upcycled products
  • raise public awareness of waste issues and the benefits of upcycling, particularly  at major events.

We used a basic spider diagram as our evaluation and reporting tool. Click on the diagram and read the summary below to see where we ended up in several key areas:

CD2010 project final evaluation spider diagram

The Delhi 2010 Organising Committee

Establishing a partnership with the Delhi Organising Committee (OC) was one of the more challenging aspects of this project. Although we did find supporters within the OC, who directed us to waste materials, we were unable to secure an ‘official’ partnership. At the highest level this entailed the OC formally and publicly acknowledging a commitment to working with us.

The Games Contractors

We had a lot more success approaching companies contracted by the OC to deliver aspects of the Games. We were offered a variety of waste materials by different contractors. A number of these companies were interested in working with Conserve on upcycling initiatives beyond the Commonwealth Games. The team at Conserve India now have new contacts and industry knowledge, positioning them well to continue working with event waste in India.

Conserve India’s Capacity and the Games Upcycled Products

These two aspects were so interrelated I thought it best to deal with them together. Essentially, the biggest challenge here was time – we simply did not have enough time to fully test samples, lock in buyer interest, modify samples to meet buyer requirements and secure a significant wholesale order.

On top of this, Conserve India was already busy meeting current production demands while transitioning to a entirely new factory. We were happy, however, with having made product samples in what Anita called ‘laying foundation stones’: that is, giving something a go and learning from it for next time.

Liz and Conserve India

This was about recognising that our relationship was fundamental to the project’s success. Again this was constrained by time. In three months we felt as though we’d only just got to know each other.

One of the main things we all learnt from working together, was there could have been more discussion in the months leading up to delivering the project. Although this is tricky where you’re in different countries, for a project to be fully participatory all the key players need to be involved in creating it.

The Awareness Campaign

This was our unqualified success. We all agreed that the media campaign we ran during the Games delivered some great results – including generating unexpected interest from big corporations.

The social media campaign was more of a slow burner, but we did increase followers and generate quality feedback and engagement with our supporters through these channels. The blog, in particular, proved to be a great way of documenting our project story in a far more interactive way than any monitoring or final report could do. We learned a lot here.

If we had to do it all again, the main thing we would have changed is to have someone connecting with the Games much earlier in their planning process. Starting the project only one month before such a mammoth event was cutting it a little fine!

Overall, we were happy with the project as it was. Because what it was, was pretty great.


KeepCup goes to India

13 Feb

Ok, this is a little tangental, but it relates to life in my local Delhi neighbourhood. Right at the beginning of this journey, I published a spider diagram on some of the core personal things I wanted to work on throughout the project. One of them was getting off caffeine for a while………well. Um.

That didn’t quite happen.

But I did manage to substitute a coffee habit for a serious chai addiction. All that sweet, milky, tannin goodness on every street corner was just too good to pass up.

What wasn’t so great were the huge numbers of plastic chai cups piled up, and often burnt, in my very same ‘hood…

chai trash

…fortunately, I discovered my well-used KeepCup along with a number of other surprise items in my luggage (let’s just say red wine and running late make for pretty random packing).



KeepCup in bike holder. Image courtesy of KeepCup.com blog

I decided, in order to keep up my chai habit, I’d need to let go of the throwaway plastic.

chai boy uses keep cup

The art of tea: 'tis a serious business

So, with a lot of gesturing and a few quizzical looks from the locals, it was warm cups of tea almost every morning for the autorickshaw ride to work.

KeepCup full of chai

The KeepCup without lid and full of yum chai

P.S. A friend of mine once griped about how annoying it was only having disposable plastic cups when he wanted to have a drink at football matches in Melbourne.

We reckon it’s a blindingly good opportunity for KeepCup. Think about it: a reusable cup you can get custom made in your own team colours. What’s not to like?

P.S. I am in no way connected to KeepCup, I just like the product. And by the looks of their rapid global expansion others do to. First the world, then the MCG?


2000 and Zen

18 Sep

End of another lo-o-ong week. We’ve had a few positive leads about accessing Games waste but none are fully confirmed yet. On Thursday I went down with a fever (luckily not dengue, just garden variety flu). While I’ve felt pretty crummy for the last couple of days, it has given me time to revisit those 5 personal goals from the start of this blog.

Three weeks in, and I can say I’ve learnt a huge amount about Delhi – food, etiquette and the way things get done. But the health and wellbeing has definitely taken a bit of a nose dive.

Liz spider diagram 2

I also managed to get my Delhi-based office (aka my bedroom) organised. While sorting through my things I found my Zen Calendar. Towards the end of last year I started telling friends and family I was renaming 2010 – 2000 and zen. This was to reflect my hope for a year of more balance and positive changes. As a joke, friends of mine bought me a Zen Page-A-Day Calendar.

At first I just laughed and marvelled at how they’d found such a classic gift. Then gradually, usually over breakfast, I started flicking through the quotes. Many were so…zen, they made my frontal lobe shrink. But occasionally a page would stand out, staying with me for days at a time.

This page has been a particular inspiration behind my involvement in this project – the quotes have been on my fridge door for the last 9 months.

no such thing as trash

Image courtesy of David Schiller's Zen Page-A-Day 2010 Calendar

To me, the Zuigan Roshi quote is a simple truth. And, although it feels like I’m free-falling a bit lately – and I’m not entirely sure when that net’s going to show up – it was good to re-read them.

They’re going ‘straight to the pool room’ (in my case, a patch of wall above my desk).

More soon.

Follow the Joy…

1 Sep

Hi, this is Liz. For the next 3 months I’ll be managing this blog (and other social media bits and twits) as part of my Endeavour Executive Award scholarship with Conserve India.

I don’t know about you, but my 2009 was just ‘nuts and bananas’ (Southeast Queensland speak for crazy).  The challenges came on all levels – career, health, relationships – everything seemed to be saying ‘change or suffer’.

But change to what? The future seemed uncertain; I was stuck in a proverbial rut. I might still be there but for a strange day reflecting on the question, ‘if not this, then what do I do with my life?’ The answer came out of the blue, as if someone had actually whispered in my ear: ‘Follow the joy’.

So here I am, jamming everything I’m curious and passionate about into one amazing adventure. Weirdly, it’s as if my random collection of previous experiences had also been leading me to this project: grappling with gender and human rights in Nepal, building a jazz festival website (clunky 2005 effort, but not bad for a first-timer), helping make a documentary celebrating sustainable events, assisting townships go plastic bag free, writing for an environmental journal, selling ginger products to retirees at the Brisbane Ekka


Unofficial shot from my days as the Sustainability Victoria 'baglady'

While drafting the CD2010 monitoring and evaluation framework (yep, for all you project junkies, there’ll be more on that later. C’mon, admit it: project planning is a little bit sexy)……………..anyways…I thought I’d introduce myself by sharing my personal goals for the project as well.

This morning I sketched out this simple spider diagram over chai at my new local chat house:

Liz's spider diagram of 5 goals

Liz's top 5 CD2010 personal goals

Basically, the 5 lines coming out from the centre point of the web represent areas I’d like to work on over the next 3 months. The diagram works by placing a dot on each line to show where you think you’re at (as you can see, am just starting out in most areas). The further out from the centre, the more improved or competent you feel you are. So this is what my first diagram captures:

The Centre – is zero or I got nuthin’

Health & Wellbeing – this is about being kind to my body, specifically with regular yoga practice, getting back to meditation and being caffeine free for a while. Furthest point away from the centre = super zen and feeling good in mind and body.

Computer Stuff – I bought a Macbook 6 months ago but still have so much to learn about using it, ditto for the Adobe Creative Suite – never even used Photoshop before! Furthest point away from the centre = I’ve become one of those people who just rave about Macs and I know the basics of Adobe CS3.

Social Media – closely related to the computer stuff. 3 months ago I’d never even really read a blog, let alone writing one. Same with Twitter and Facebook. Furthest point away from the centre = I’ve become a zealous social media user and advocate.

Creativity – I’d like to take better photos, write well for the web and update my wardrobe with some (low impact) fashion. Furthest point away from the centre = I have a collection of images and writing I love and am swanning around in some unique, eco-friendly, mojo-enhancing, indian fashion items.

Culture – learning some hindi, discovering some historical places and reading books and watching movies on Indian culture are high on my list. At the furthest point I’ve developed hindi conversational skills, I’ve read broadly and feel like I’ve developed greater understanding of India’s history and culture by living and working in Delhi.

We’ll be doing a similar diagram for the CD2010 project as a way of communicating our monitoring and evaluation goals. I hope to publish it here soon.



(Let the Games change begin!)

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