Designing a Learning Compass for Systems Change

Session Number: 1286
Track: Systems in Evaluation
Session Type: Demonstration
Tags: complexity, learning, systems change
Session Facilitator: Srik Gopal [Vice President, Strategy, Impact, and Learning - Democracy Fund]
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Joelle Cook [Associate Director - FSG]
Second Author or Discussion Group Leader: Tiffany Clarke [Senior Consultant - FSG]
Third Author or Discussion Group Leader: Marcie Parkhurst [Director - FSG]
Time: Oct 28, 2016 (08:00 AM - 09:30 AM)
Room: L506

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract: 

When it comes to navigating complex systems change, a compass is often more useful than a roadmap, as it keeps us oriented towards the ultimate goal, no matter the twists and turns. A learning compass is an overarching framework an evaluator can use to design meaningful experiences related to 1) identifying learning priorities, 2) designing activities to gather information, and 3) intentionally setting aside time to reflect on learnings and use them to adjust initiative design or inform other strategic decisions. In this session, participants will learn from our experience designing and using learning compasses with three major philanthropic organizations focused on systems change, in particular:

  • How organizational learning supports systems change
  • How to determine a meaningful learning focus for a systems change effort
  • How to design a robust and effective approach to gathering information
  • How to design learning retreats that support shared meaning-making and improved strategic decision-making