RADIANCE BLOG

Category: Trends and News

Community and Research: Making the Case for a Nuanced Understanding

Photo by Park Troopers on Unsplash

What is community? We hear the word thrown about in a multitude of contexts and meanings, but what is it really? The Oxford Dictionary defines community as a “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.”  But how are we defining and identifying those commonalities? 

When quarantine lockdown began in Colorado in March 2020, I posed a question about community on social media. I asked how people were defining community during coronavirus. It is a rare phenomena for the global “community” to simultaneously share a common experience. I wondered if community was being thought of in a new way during these unprecedented times.  

Somewhat surprisingly, many of the responses provided by personal and professional acquaintances did not speak of a larger, global community. Rather than using expansive terms, many spoke of communities on a hyper-local scale. Their current community was being defined by their family, their coworkers, the local restaurant owners and hospitality workers.

Continue reading

Colorado’s COVID-19 Experience Part 5: Types of Worry

The Corona Insights team wanted to know how Coloradans were holding up during shelter in place, so we conducted a survey! We asked residents about a broad range of topics, including their overall wellbeing, challenges, concerns, community response, and others.

All posts in this series:


We’ve discovered a lot of interesting things in our COVID-19 Experience Survey data. For my own analysis, I wanted to better understand how worried Coloradans are about health and the economy during this pandemic. During an emergency, officials often want the public to stay calm so that people don’t engage in rash behavior. Understanding what people are worried about can be useful when figuring out how to keep everyone calm. 

Continue reading

Colorado’s COVID-19 Experience Part 4: How COVID-19 Impacts Quality of Life

The Corona Insights team wanted to know how Coloradans were holding up during shelter in place, so we conducted a survey! We asked residents about a broad range of topics, including their overall wellbeing, challenges, concerns, community response, and others.

All posts in this series:


As a part of our blog series recapping results from our COVID-19 Experience Survey, we wanted to dig deeper into our data and understand why some Coloradans said their quality of life had dropped significantly during shelter in place while others reported about the same wellbeing as before all of this started.

Wellbeing in Crisis

In order to assess changes in quality of life, we asked respondents a couple of questions. First, “On a scale of 0 (not good at all) to 10 (great), how would you rate your quality of life right now?” Next, we posed a similar question to understand how respondents would rate their quality of life “before the start of the COVID-19 situation.” Ideally, we would have been surveying these respondents over a few months, asking the original question at various time periods to develop “pre” and “post” scores to analyze. Many of our evaluation projects employ this strategy; the present circumstances, obviously, did not allow for us to go this route. However, by asking Coloradans to think back to their quality of life before the start of the pandemic, we can create a reasonable measurement of change by subtracting their “pre” scores from their post (or “during”) COVID quality of life score.

As reported in Part 1 of this series, Coloradans said that their quality of life dropped by a score of 1.4, or by about 18%, on average. However, this average only tells part of the story. While around a third of the state reported a one or two-point drop, more than a quarter of residents said their quality of life had decreased more substantially since the beginning of the pandemic. While a small percentage of the state (7%) actually said their life had gotten better during shelter in place, almost a third reported no change.

What explains this wide range of outcomes? Unsurprisingly, our analysis suggests those hit hardest economically reported the largest decreases in quality of life. Additionally, Coloradans who were socially isolated during shelter in place fared worse than those living with, and consistently interacting with, others. In the next section, we detail our key findings related to quality of life changes. If you are interested in how we estimated these results, or how to interpret regression analysis you can continue reading into our “How to Analyze the Data” section.

Continue reading

Adaptation in Evaluation: Pressures and Progress in a Time of COVID-19

Amidst rising efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, Governor Polis closed Colorado schools on March 18th. In the weeks leading up to the 18th, much of the state was holding its breath to see what would happen. While many organizations have frozen in place due to the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of our long-term clients, Big Idea Project, has exemplified how to be proactive during this time of uncertainty.  When faced with impending school closures, Big Idea Project got to work modifying its program implementation This proactive problem-solving work that now ensures the program’s resiliency isn’t entirely surprising when one considers how Big Idea Project’s aim to empower young Coloradans to solve big problems.

Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash

In an education environment where most curriculum is standards-centered, Big Idea Project provides “a student-centered approach that connects the head and the heart through experiential learning, resulting in personal development that goes beyond knowledge.”, Big Idea Project builds leadership, workforce readiness, social-emotional skills, and well-being through a unique model that combines service learning, mentorship with working professionals, and classroom engagement.

Continue reading

Colorado’s COVID-19 Experience Part 3: Past & Future Plans

The Corona Insights team wanted to know how Coloradans were holding up during shelter in place, so we conducted a survey! We asked residents about a broad range of topics, including their overall well-being, challenges, concerns, community response, and others.

All posts in this series:


As a part of our blog series recapping results from our COVID-19 Experience Survey, we wanted to examine what plans were disrupted by the pandemic and how soon Colorado residents felt they would be comfortable to return to various activities.

First, we asked respondents what travel plans, if any, they had to cancel due to COVID-19 crisis. Most Coloradans said the pandemic caused them to cancel at least one scheduled trip. About four in ten residents said they had to cancel travel for pleasure that required an airline flight. Almost one quarter of the state said they took an overnight recreational trip by car off their calendars.

Continue reading

Colorado’s COVID-19 Experience Part 2: Community Response

The Corona Insights team wanted to know how Coloradans were holding up during shelter in place, so we conducted a survey! We asked residents about a broad range of topics, including their overall wellbeing, challenges, concerns, community response, and others.

All posts in this series:


As a part of our blog series recapping results from our COVID-19 Experience Survey, we wanted to take a look at how Colorado residents have been gauging the State and community response to the pandemic and see what residents themselves have been doing to help others.

Continue reading

10 tips for facilitating your next Zoom meeting

If you live in Colorado, especially Denver, it is likely you will still be conducting the majority, if not all, of your team meetings virtually, even as some states and municipalities begin to chart their gradual paths to recovery.  

As we adjust to the new reality of virtual meetings as the new norm, we’ve been gathering some tips, tricks, and resources for all of you who are having to adjust to conducting meetings online and to developing a new facilitation skill set you never knew you had or needed.

Photo by Allie on Unsplash

3 classic facilitation tips that will optimize your virtual meeting (in other words, these always apply):

Continue reading

Colorado’s COVID-19 Experience Part 1: How CO is Coping

The Corona Insights team wanted to know how Coloradans were holding up during shelter in place, so we conducted a survey! We asked residents about a broad range of topics, including their overall well-being, challenges, concerns, community response, and others.

All posts in this series:


This blog is the first in our series to present findings and insights from the data and our analysis. Check back here for deeper analysis of what Coloradans are thinking and doing in these strange times in addition to what residents plan to do as things start to return to normal.

Quality of Life During a Pandemic

One of the first goals of our survey was to establish a baseline of Coloradans’ wellbeing during these extreme circumstances. We asked respondents to rate their quality of life on a scale of 0 (not good at all) to 10 (great) right now, and retrospectively before the start of the COVID-19 situation. Unsurprisingly, the average quality of life score during COVID-19 pandemic dropped from a 7.8 to a 6.4, or by about 18%. Most Coloradans (63%) reported a decrease in their quality of life, but rural areas appear to have been the least impacted. Residents from rural counties only experienced a 13% drop on average. Almost half (43%) of respondents who said they lived outside of a city or town reported the same quality of life during the pandemic as before, compared to only 30% of the state overall.

Continue reading

Are We “Flattening the Curve?”

For better or worse, I consider myself to be somewhat “anti-news.”  That doesn’t mean that I hide under a rock and pretend like nothing is bad (or good!) in the world, but I personally have a lot of trouble really understanding what is going on when information is filtered through someone else’s attempt to simplify a complex situation down so that everyone can understand it.

Trying to follow the COVID-19 situation is no different.  There are hundreds (thousands?) of news articles every day about how we’re doing, and a lot of it is contradictory.  How do you filter through all the noise and understand what’s truly going on?  I’d like to show one resource (among many) that I find to be helpful in drawing my own conclusions about the situation: Covidly.com.

Now, before we go any further, it’s important to acknowledge that this site doesn’t get around the issue that everyone’s having right now – poor data quality.  It pulls data from other sources around the world, so if the data coming in is flawed, it’s not able to correct for that.  But for a simple overview of what’s going on, it’s about as good of a source as people in the general public have at our disposal.

First, if all you want is a simple “how well are we doing,” each country is assigned a “health score” from 1 to 9 (where 1 = really bad and 9 = really good), and you can hover over the number to read the definition of each score. For the record, they have the U.S. at a “5” today, which isn’t great, but is a lot better than the “2” we were at a couple weeks ago. 

What I personally find to be very helpful, however, is…graphs!  (I know, try to contain your surprise that a numbers guy loves graphs.)  You can find graphs at both the national and state levels, and if you’re a true numbers geek like I am, there are customizations galore.  I won’t go through every chart, but here are a couple that I personally find to be helpful.

Continue reading

Social Distancing: How Are We Doing?

One of the biggest challenges in tackling the COVID-19 situation has been the lack of accurate data about the situation.  While various models can be helpful to understand what’s going on and to forecast how things will play out, it has been very difficult for public health officials to fully understand how contagious the virus is, how deadly it is, and how it spreads.

It has also been difficult to get a feel for how well social distancing efforts have been working, but that is beginning to change through some interesting uses of data that already exist.  Google has, for years, collected location data through Google Maps users that forms the basis for its various traffic measurements and forecasts.  Now, Google has found a way of using that same data to create a “report card” of how well communities across the country are cutting down on their social distancing.

Continue reading