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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.

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Rethinking How We Evaluate and Use Data

Posted by Duncan Field on April 15, 2019
Everyone, regardless of whether you consider yourself an evaluator or not, uses metrics. We track our finances, look at gas mileage and so much more. In a community change context, we often find ways to track the performance of things like marketing and communications, program delivery, and budgeting. Read More

Outcome Harvesting: Principles, Steps, and Evaluation Applications

Posted by Duncan Field on February 14, 2019

All throughout 2018 and into 2019, the Tamarack Institute has seen a large spike in interest in our Evaluation resources. This trend towards evaluating community change efforts is an encouraging one – it represents a move beyond programmatic interventions towards systems change, and how to evaluate the impact of our change efforts.

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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.
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Scaling for Systems Change: Rethinking Planning and Evaluation

Posted by Mark Cabaj on November 13, 2018

One of the most common pathways to systems change is to ‘scale’ a successful small-scale innovation.

The theory is simple. Social innovators develop and test a new model or practice that they think can make a positive difference (e.g., improve grade 3 reading rates, protect wetlands, reduce the racism some people encounter when trying to secure good housing). This is usually (but not always) organized as a pilot project. If the experiment is successful, they then work with funders and early adopters to expand the practice broadly enough that it can ‘change’ a system and generate widespread impact.


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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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