Archives

Foreseeing the Unpossible

Change may be the only constant and, beyond wet babies, few of us welcome it. Foresight is about looking ahead to what change(s) might be coming to help us prepare, but that doesn’t help much if we don’t know where we are right now.  Last night I had a wonderful conversation with some foresighting peers, […]

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Ethics and Systemic Change

Systems change is a goal for many social advocates — whether aimed at politics, climate change, social norms or beyond — because often it’s only through changes to the interrelationships and boundaries that contain a system can lasting shifts be noticed. With great potential and power comes a responsibility to ensure that change yields more […]

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Innovation Framing

Innovation is easier to say than to do. One of the reasons is that a new idea needs to fit within a mindset or frame that is accustomed to seeing the way things are, not what they could be, and its in changing this frame that innovators might find their greatest obstacles and opportunities.  Innovation, its […]

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Systems thinking and the simple plan

  Planning is something that is done all the time, but the shape in which these plans unfold is often complex in hidden ways. Without the same resources to evaluate those plans (and make different ones should they change) many organizations are left with great expectations that don’t match the reality of what they do (and can […]

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Developmental Evaluation and Sensemaking

Developmental evaluation is only as good as the sense that can be made from the data that is received. To assume that program staff and evaluators know how to do this might be one of the reasons developmental evaluations end up as something less than they promise.  Developmental Evaluation (DE) is becoming a popular subject […]

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The Organizational Zombie Resistance Kit

Zombies — unaware, semi-conscious, distracted individuals — are all around us and running many of the organizations we work in or with. And just like combatting real zombies there is a need to target the head. There is much musing about what a zombie apocalypse might look like, but anyone paying attention to what is […]

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The Developmental Evaluation and Design Imperative

Developmental evaluation is an approach to evaluating programs that takes account of complexity and changing conditions, supports innovation, and serves as a vehicle for adaptation for leaders seeking feedback on how to adapt to these evolving forces. It is not simply about improving programs, but developing them. From a technical point of view, this means […]

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A Flood of Complexity

Yesterday Toronto was hit with a massive rainstorm that dumped more than 120mm of rain on parts of the city within the span of five hours knocking out power to more than 300,000 people, stranding thousands more, and even prompting a rescue of hundreds trapped on a commuter train out of the city by the […]

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Quid nunc cogitat? In search of a definition of design thinking

Design thinking is a concept that has gained much purchase in the creative industries and beyond, but what does it mean and does it matter?  Determining an answer to this question might mean the difference between advancing it further or ending the concept’s use altogether. The Latin form of the question of “what is design […]

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Developmental Design and Human Services

Applying developmental design may get us past the inevitable square-peg-round-hole problem that many evaluators, program planners and policy makers find themselves in as they seek to get greater value from their programs and demand more return on their investments. Evaluation and research is sought as the means to do it and with programs designed for evolution from the start, perhaps we won’t be surprised when the metaphorical ice sheets start to fall apart (as seen above) and see it as a developmental step to a new reality.

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