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A mindset for developmental evaluation

Developmental evaluation requires different ways of thinking about programs, people, contexts and the data that comes from all three. Without a change in how we think about these things, no method, tool, or approach will make an evaluation developmental or its results helpful to organizations seeking to innovate, adapt, grow, and sustain themselves.  There is […]

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Learning fails in bad systems

Enormous energy is spent on developing strategies to accomplish things with comparatively little paid to the systems that they are being deployed in. A good strategy works by design and that means designing systems that improve the likelihood of their success rather than fight against them and this is no truer than in the effort […]

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What’s in your baggage?

Social and emotional baggage is what we bring with us and, like the real thing, it’s all in what we pack, how we pack it and how aware we are of what we’re packing it for. And like the real thing, individuals and organizations can’t go on much of a journey without carrying some of […]

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Lost together

Doing new things to create social value means going into the great unknown, yet our fear of being lost need not prevent us from innovating, wisely and sustainably. Instead of being lost alone, we can be lost together.  I’ve heard it all so many times before It’s all a dream to me now A dream to […]

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Diversity / Complexity in Focus

  As cities and regions worldwide celebrate Pride the role of diversity, understanding and unity has been brought to mind just as it has contemplating the British public’s choice to leave the EU with Brexit. Both events offer lessons in dealing with complexity and why diversity isn’t about either/or, but more both and neither and […]

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Benchmarking change

The quest for excellence within social programs relies on knowing what excellence means and how programs compare against others. Benchmarks can enable us to compare one program to another if we have quality comparators and an evaluation culture to generate them – something we currently lack.  A benchmark is something used by surveyors to provide a […]

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Thinking systemically about systems thinking

Systems thinking is a class of theories, models and methods for understanding human and non-human interactions as seen as wholes instead of parts. This focus on interconnections and relationships is precisely what makes it challenging for many when it comes to systemically considering what systems thinking is all about and the implications of this are […]

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Acting on Failure or Failure to Act?

Who would have thought that failure would be held up as something to be desired just a few years ago? Yet, it is one thing to extol the virtues of failure in words, it is quite another to create systems that support failure in action and if the latter doesn’t follow the former, failure will […]

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Asking Better and More Beautiful Questions

Beautiful answers require beautiful (and better) questions and Warren Berger’s new book looks at this very phenomenon of inquiry and asks: What does it mean to ask better questions and what does that mean for the answers we seek and receive?   Warren Berger recently published  A More Beautiful Question, a book looking at something we […]

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What’s the big idea and how are you going to make it real?

Concepts like design thinking and developmental evaluation are best used when they help ask big questions before seeking answers. How we frame the problem is much more important than the solution we generate, but that way of thinking means going into an area that is much talked about and rarely delivered on: strategy. Many companies […]

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