If there’s one thing I know for sure after working in different sectors it’s that food brings people together. I mean, have you ever seen your colleagues react as fast to a non-emergency email as when it says ‘extra food in the kitchen, help yourself’? Suddenly the office track team comes out of hiding with cupcakes replacing medals for prizes. Funny, my emails about data meetings don’t seem to incite the same Olympic speed response or enthusiasm.

Then one day I baked a pie for a meeting at which data visualization was the key topic. It was a bit of a jest to highlight that the only 3D pies that are welcome in the reporting process are those that are savory or sweet and can be consumed with a fork. That was the day I realized the power of pie. (Real pie brings people together, pie charts are a highly divisive topic.) Once snacks were provided it seemed that people enjoyed coming to the data meetings. The pie served as an ice breaker with the silver lining being that even with difficult discussions on the agenda, people still get a delicious snack. This effect is not unique to pie, I’ve observed similar reactions to coffee, bagels, and sandwiches. I just really like pie.

The use of food is not limited to an enticement to get people to meetings, it can also be a great way to disseminate evaluation findings. For example, Stephanie Evergreen wrote a blog post, which is absolutely brilliant, about putting results in Findings Cookies. It’s a little data surprise in a delicious cookie – win/win!

  • Looking for something less advanced? Pick up a package of blank toothpick flags, write a finding on each, and stick them into cupcakes.
  • Feeling even more adventurous? Print your findings on edible fondant and place on top of cupcakes or brownies and your results will literally be the icing on the cake!
  • Not a fan of baking? Create your own evaluation chocolate bar wrappers. Avery address labels work well for mini and full-size chocolate bars or you can order blank wrappers from Online Labels.

Findings Chocolate Bar Wrapper

Your treats will not only be delicious, they will also be informative. Plus you have limited space so your text has to be clear and concise. There are so many ways to incorporate food into the data dissemination process, it’s sure to keep your colleagues and partners happy. Leave a comment and share how you’ve practiced the power of pie in your own work. Happy baking!