In this new website, I was keen to have a place where I could provide an update on my latest experiences and thinking when it came to evaluation, extension or development issues – an opportunity for a bit of free thought. Although the blog doesn’t allow direct comment as such, feel free to use the contact page to email me any feeedback or thoughts that have been triggered by my entries.
In this line of business you get to experience a wide range of places, sectors and projects. Over the last few years I have worked in such areas as: the Philippines (ACIAR project looking at improving the decentralised extension system); Indonesia (looking at what was happening in applied agricultural research approaches – and before that smallholder shrimp production); Laos (looking at a livestock forage project in the high country); New Zealand (looking at the role of Agricultural Consultants in agricultural extension and environmental services); and of course across Australia (wool and dairy industries, and an educational program in Tasmania; sugar projects in Queensland; agricultural development in the Kimberlies; natural resource management programs in various states). And with an evaluation focus, you really get to hone in what is happening and why and the issues surrounding them – and meet some fascinating and great people along the way! Quite a privilege!
One person who made a significant impression on me was Sandy Cuthbertson – one of the founders of the Centre for International Economics – who passed away very recently with many of us very saddened by his loss. Sandy was a real gentleman and excellent soul. I travelled with Sandy some years ago to the Philippines for a scoping study – just prior to starting up my own consulting career. During our visit, I asked him to share his experiences about successful consulting – I was after the top 10 lessons! Over the next few days, Sandy tried to oblige – very thoughtfully and humbly. I can’t remember them all now, but his Number 1 message was “be generous”….in the broadest sense! Consulting to him, was not about ‘screwing the client’ and charging for every minute – but to give of yourself to do what was needed to be done to make the world a better place. He found that such an approach had its own rewards – and the dollars took care of themselves. A nice lesson that I took with me when I took the jump to the consulting world.