The Latest

Contribute. We love to hear your thoughts, your musings and your latest work. Please share with us!
Write a post

Disruptive Times Require Skilled Changemakers

Posted by Liz Weaver in February 2019

In this paper, Liz Weaver describes three elements that every changemaker needs when approaching complex challenges - a mindset shift, an agile and adaptable approach, and knowledge and skills in each of the five interconnected practice areas.

Read More

Conserving our Natural Environments: A Capacity Challenge

Posted by Liz Weaver on February 19, 2019

From time to time, the Tamarack Institute is contacted to be a key informant in different studies.  Last Fall, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and its partners were interested in understanding how capacity building could improve sustainability and outcomes for the California Landscape Stewardship Network. 

Read More

Evaluating Systems Change Results: An Inquiry Framework

Posted by Mark Cabaj on December 18, 2018
At Tamarack’s Community Change Institute in Vancouver in 2015, Karen Pittman, CEO of the Forum on Youth Investment, shared a noble prize worthy piece of poetry:  Programmatic interventions help people beat the odds. Systemic interventions can help change their odds.
Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Swimming in the Deep End

Posted by Liz Weaver on July 10, 2018

Systems change work is about understanding all of the actors in the system and the dynamic flow of power, relationships, and mindsets that exists between them.  John Kania, Mark Kramer and Peter Senge, in their recently released paper, The Water of System Change use the metaphor of water to describe systems.  The water is the environment through which fish and other life exists but it is also a flowing, moving and changing entity. 

Read More

Systems and Programs: Moving from Enemies to Friends

Posted by Lauren Gase on May 29, 2018

Over the past few years, there has been an increasing emphasis on the need for “systems change” to achieve large-scale social impact. 

Read More