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Creating Containers and Co-Design: Transforming Collaboration

Posted by Liz Weaver in July 2018

In 'Creating Containers and Co-Design: Transforming Collaboration', Liz Weaver identifies the role of collaboration in Collective Impact initiatives, and community change efforts more broadly, as well as framing the roles and tasks of community collaboratives as containers for change.

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Planning Systems Change Evaluation

Posted by Mark Cabaj on September 21, 2018

The video System Thinking and Evaluation, by Kylie Hutchinson, Chris Lovato and Bev Parsons is an excellent introduction to evaluating systems change. It describes how an evaluation of a hypothetical initiative to improve nutrition in a community must both ‘zoom in’ to explore the programmatic effects of the effort (e.g., improved health of program participants) and ‘zoom out’ to assess influence and change on factors in the larger systems that affect their individual health (e.g., urban design which affects levels of physical activity, the quality of industrial food production, the culture of portion sizes). The video also reminds us that deep and durable progress on complex issues depends on our ability to reshape the deeper systems that contribute to those problems in the first place.

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Evaluating Systems and Social Change: New Developments and A Ground-breaking Program by SFU

Posted by Mark Cabaj on July 31, 2018

One of my roles as ‘curator’ of the Tamarack Institute’s Evaluating Community Impact work is to track and share ideas and methodologies that community changemakers might find useful in their work.  

Over the next six months, I will focus on evaluating systems change and social change. Innovators  all over the world are focused on reforming or transforming systems, whether they be related to energy, child protection, ecological education, economic, social systems, or (more likely) a mix of all them.

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When Collective Impact Has An Impact - An Evaluation of the Practice

Posted by Liz Weaver on April 11, 2018

In 2017, the Collective Impact Forum and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions commissioned ORS Impact and the Spark Policy Institute to conduct a field-wide evaluation of Collective Impact.  The evaluation sought to answer the following five questions: 

  1. To what extent and under what conditions does the Collective Impact approach contribute to systems and population changes?
  2. What system changes have contributed to the population level outcomes being achieved?
  3. What are the other positive or negative impacts, intended or unintended, on the community and system?
  4. What evidence is there that the Collective Impact effort has contributed to these system and population changes?
  5. What evidence is there that the population changes would not have been achieved if the Collective Impact approach hadn’t been used.

 

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Weaving Together Accountability and Learning in Complex Situations

Posted by Mark Cabaj on February 14, 2018

Michael Quinn Patton, evaluation expert, has argued that even the best intentioned, well-resourced evaluation processes can become, “the enemy of social innovation” if change-makers, evaluators and funders employ a traditional – rather than developmental – approach to assessment.  

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Principles-Focused Evaluation: Newest Approach for Evaluating Complex Change Efforts

Posted by Mark Cabaj on December 11, 2017

One of the toughest challenges for social innovators and evaluators is to describe the “it” they are trying to evaluate. While they typically have a general idea of the outcome they would like to see (e.g., an end to homelessness, addressing mental health issues, a feeling of inclusion), they often struggle to lay out the pathway(s) to get there. This makes it difficult for both parties to land on questions, indicators and/or methods around which to build an evaluation design. 

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Embracing the Messy, Unpredictable Journey

Posted by Hailey Hechtman on November 24, 2017

Looking out the window at the snow-covered ground, it feels as though ages have passed since my time at the Community Change Institute in Vancouver. Although, the seasons have quickly changed and new day to day operational priorities have skipped to the head of the line, there are many messages that remain in my mind about the content shared that week.

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