Developmental Evaluation

Developmental Evaluation



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Session Title: Applying Developmental Evaluation in Innovative and Complex Situations
Panel Session 791 to be held in Panzacola Section F4 on Saturday, Nov 14, 11:50 AM to 12:35 PM
Sponsored by the Systems in Evaluation TIG and the Human Services Evaluation TIG
Chair(s):
Michael Patton, Independent Consultant, mqpatton@prodigy.net
Discussant(s):
Kate McKegg, The Knowledge Institute Ltd, kate.mckegg@xtra.co.nz
Abstract: What are the challenges and opportunities associated with ensuring that evaluation is relevant and credible in innovative and complex situations? Although both case examples presented in this session have quite different contexts, they are both characterized by (1) innovative, visionary leadership trying to create wider social and system change and (2) complex, uncertain environments where there is very little certainty about the outcomes that lie ahead. In this session, the presenters will draw from their experiences to describe and discuss how developmental evaluation was applied in both of these contexts. They will illustrate how developmental evaluation enables evaluators to be responsive to context, and open to the use of less traditional evaluation approaches, such as critical systems thinking. They will also discuss the benefits and challenges of this kind of evaluation to the organizations, and for evaluators.
The Development of a Bold Vision for Indigenous People - The Lessons and Opportunities of Developmental Evaluation in a Complex Political Space
Nan Wehipeihana, Independent Consultant, nanw@clear.net.nz
In a bold move by a government agency, a program for indigenous people, which for a long time has been delivered by mainstream providers, has been given a new mandate. The new mandate is for indigenous people to redefine programming in a way that allows them to revitalise and revive traditional activities for a contemporary context and population. There is formal permission and funding for indigenous people to develop their own vision, theory and practice around what it means to 'be indigenous', and to formulate and develop practice and delivery mechanisms that give expression to this concept. This paper will discuss the application of developmental evaluation in a new and challenging context, where innovation, vision and the politics of sovereignty come together.
Maintaining Vision Amidst Uncertainty: Using Developmental Evaluation to Steer a Path Through Complexity
Virginia MacEwan, Wellink Trust, virginiam@wellink.org.nz
A large mental health organization is working to develop a suite of innovative mental health services, grounded in recovery principles and approaches. The organization has a strong commitment to the recovery paradigm, with its leadership open and willing to experiment and discover sustainable principles of practice that are meaningful to the consumers it works with. The wider context of mental health provision is complex, with nebulous outcomes that are not easy to define or measure, competing paradigms, unstable funding streams, rapidly changing needs and client bases etc. The organization is using a developmental evaluation approach to help them pursue their vision of wider system change for the delivery of mental services. This paper describes and discusses how a developmental approach has enabled the organization to apply a range of approaches to evaluation, including the use of systems approaches to build evaluative thinking and practice into a highly complex environment.
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