On 20-21 May an international conference was held in Utrecht, The Netherlands: ‘Evaluation revisited: improving the quality of evaluative practice by embracing complexity’.
Dr. Patricia Rogers held a keynote speech to explore the implications of ‘complicated’ and ‘complexity’ for evaluative practice. Sheela Patel held an inspiring speech to build a bridge between current evaluative practice and the challenges faced in complex societal change processes. Maarten Brouwer addressed ‘Development Cooperation at Crossroads’, with interesting food for thought.
Some nine case clinics provided examples of ‘rigorous’ evaluative practice embracing complexity. ‘Methods and more markets’ provided an opportunity to share (partly preselected) methodologies, examples or deepen particular issues that participants wished to address in this context. Through ‘ritual dissent’ half of the participants then tried to answer the core question of the conference, ‘What constitutes rigorous evaluative practice for embracing complexity?’, whilst the other half looked at strategic opportunities to ensure space and capacity for rigorous evaluative practice that embraces complexity and influences societal transformation. A panel reviewed and discussed the outputs of these sessions.
Strong supportGenerally there was a strong support for better understanding and capturing of complexity through mixed methods, whilst taking into account the importance of values and evaluation standards underpinning evaluative practice. The link of evaluative practice to influencing societal change was also clearly expressed.
More information and videos
More information: http://evaluationrevisited.wordpress.com/. Here you can find background on the program, cases, methods and more markets etc, but also the videos that were taken of all the plenary sessions.
The conference was organized by the Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation (Cecile Kusters), Learning by Design (Irene Guijt) and Context international cooperation (Jan Brouwers) and got sponsored by Cordaid, Hivos, ICCO, IDRC, IKM, LNV/Wageningen UR, Oxfam-Novib, Plan Netherlands, and Stichting het Groene Woudt.