Elevating Our Game Along Innovative Pathways to the Future: Before it's Too Late!

Session Number: 1397
Track: Presidential Strand
Session Type: Panel
Session Chair: Tessie Tzavaras Catsambas [CEO and CFO - EnCompass LLC]
Discussant: Katrina L Bledsoe [Principal Consultant - Bledsoe Consulting]
Presenter 1: Stewart Donaldson [Professor & Executive Director - Claremont Evaluation Center]
Presenter 2: Frans L Leeuw [Professor - University of Maastricht Netherlands ]
Presenter 3: Michael Quinn Patton [Founder & Director - Utilization-Focused Evaluation]
Time: Nov 14, 2019 (08:00 AM - 09:00 AM)
Room: CC 200DE

Abstract 1 Title: Future Evolutionary Pathways for Developing Evaluative Thinking, Evaluation Science, and Building on Strengths to Elevate our Game
Presentation Abstract 1:

Many of the pressing societal and evaluation challenges in the years ahead will require evaluators and evaluation to evolve. This evolution is likely to be more adaptive if we as a global evaluation community learn how to more fully embrace the urgency of raising human consciousness, especially among our leaders, to the level where evaluative thinking, evaluation science, and the science of positive psychology principles become standard operating practice in the world.  In this presentation, I will illustrate how each of these evolved ways of thinking and framing urgent problems and questions can be used to facilitate breakthroughs in global systems transformation, and to accelerate the use of AI and futuristic social media in efforts to head off disaster.  I will also discuss how these evolutionary pathways hold great promising for promoting more social justice and social betterment as the planet is transformed in unpredictable (but hopefully positive) ways.


Abstract 2 Title: Big Data/AI and Evaluation: Pathways to a Better Future
Presentation Abstract 2:

There is some evidence of a gap problem: on the one hand ubiquitous internet, digitization and dataification, on the other hand evaluators still not (very) active working with Big Data/artificial intelligence. In other professional fields a similar gap problem exist(ed), like law, criminology and social sciences. At the same time there are serious efforts underway to focus on and work with Big data/ AI in and for evaluation. I will discuss two questions:

 What are the contributions of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in (developing) program evaluations with an eye to the future?

 And which role(s) can evaluation play in assessing Big Data and in particular AI / algorithms when following a human-centered framework looking into validity, transparency, and impact?

 This second question is the other side of the coin of Big Data and AI, a side that has not yet drawn very much attention from the evaluators’ world.


Abstract 3 Title: Blue Marble Evaluation Pathways to the Future
Presentation Abstract 3:

Climate change poses challenges for global systems transformation. Transforming evaluation to evaluate transformation means treating the whole Earth (our Blue Marble) as the evaluand.  There is no counterfactual, no Planet B. A theory of transformation supersedes project-based theories of change. Evaluating a comprehensive theory of transformation will require leading edge, innovative methods including remote sensing, blockchain technology, robotics, and social systems network mapping on a global scale. Transforming evaluation to evaluate transformation also means that evaluation becomes part of the global systems change intervention. 


Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Accelerating climate change has generated urgent calls for new ways of thinking and approaches for facilitating global systems transformation.  This session will explore a wide range of innovative pathways that might elevate the role and importance of evaluation in the systems level social problem solving likely to be required for a better future.  First, we will explore the urgency of raising human consciousness, especially among our leaders, to the level where evaluative thinking, evaluation science, and the science of positive psychology principles become central for addressing global systems transformation.   Next the role of big data and artificial intelligence in developing evaluations of the future will be discussed.  Finally, we will discuss how transforming evaluation to evaluate transformation means treating the whole Earth (our Blue Marble) as the evaluand. The urgency of encouraging future evaluators to think “outside of the box” or beyond the traditional program evaluation approaches will be emphasized.