We convened a Webinar in early April regarding the possibility of co-creating a systems change evaluation methodology, as part of the Skoll World Forum’s Virtual Edition. Close to 500 people signed up for the Webinar, 300 people attended and 30 people signed up to be part of the co-creation process. Early interest has shown that there’s a need for a systems change evaluation methodology. We want to share our initial thinking on the methodology, based on what we’ve heard and learnt. We want to thank everyone who’s contributed so far and you will be officially acknowledged after we wrap up the initial consultation.
To make the consultation interactive and digestible, we are planning 4 blog posts, one every week so we can be engaging in deeper discussions with collaborators: 1) rationale; 2) definitions; 3) considerations for methodology; 4) proposed methodology. Our consultation is launching today, on 21st July and will end on 16th August. We are starting with the blog first on rationale – why systems change evaluation?
The rationale of developing a methodology for systems change evaluation is two-fold:
Increasing understanding and interest in systems change
A lot has been written on why we need more systems change, such as NPC (2015), Ashoka and McKinsey (2020). The increasing interest in systems change has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic which has shown the complexities of systems and our interconnected nature. The crisis also made clear that we need to deepen our understanding of systems – how they function and change. By measuring system change, this methodology also aims at developing the evidence base on system change.
Increasing the accessibility of systems change evaluation
There have been some attempts, though only a few, at measuring systems change –as systems change is vast and non-linear, measuring may seem difficult. Some existing evaluation methodologies, such as process tracing and outcomes mapping, have been cited as more effective than others in measuring systems change. But practitioners are still grappling with the complexity of measuring systems change. This methodology consultation aims to bring together different concepts on this topic, and increases the accessibility of the theory and practice to a wider range of stakeholders.
Who is this methodology for?
This methodology is for any organisation conducting, funding or supporting system change interventions (charities, funders, researchers and the public sector).
Our questions for you are:
- 1) What do you think of the above rationale?
- 2) Any other rationale that should be considered?
- 3) Is the need for systems change evaluation really there?
Please feel free to share your thoughts with us by commenting on this blog post, or our social media posts, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to engage in the discussions by hashtag #SystemsChangeEval.