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.
In October 2017, the dynamic team at the Community University Partnership (University of Alberta) made this topic the central theme of their annual general meeting, a reflection of their commitment to providing useful research and evaluation in a variety of important social issues across the region. I had the pleasure of presenting to a group of about 120 people during this gathering and have since written a follow up blog emphasizing the three major points of my presentation along with an additional point that I couldn’t help but add in, having not had time in October.
The Community University Partnership annual meeting was yet another reminder that we need to figure out ways to ensure that evaluation contributes – rather than short-circuits – our efforts to tackle complex situations in our communities. To do this, we need to build on – yet change – a field of evaluation often still stuck in more traditional ideas and practices. The Community University Partnership is one of the organizations trying to do just that.
- Read the full blog - Weaving Together Accountability and Learning in Complex Situations: A Wicked Challenge
- Learn more about the Community University Partnership
- Join Mark Cabaj at one of our upcoming events: