Evaluation 2019: Paths to the Future of Evaluation: Contribution, Leadership, and Renewal

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The Future of Evaluating for Transformational (Systems) Change: Where are we? Where should we go?

Session Number: 2542
Track: Systems in Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: Blue Marble evaluators, Sustainable Development Goals, systems approaches, systems change, transformation
Session Chair: Deborah L Rugg [Professor, Founder & Executive Director - Claremont Evaluation Center- New York]
Discussant: Zenda Ofir [International Evaluation Specialist / Honorary Professor - Stellenbosch University]
Presenter 1: Geeta Batra, Deputy Director & Chief Evaluation Officer [Deputy Director & Chief Evaluation Officer]
Presenter 2: Jyotsna Puri [Columbia University]
Presenter 3: Glenn G. Page [SustainaMetrix]
Presenter 4: Pablo Vidueira [Global Systems Change (Blue Marble) Evaluator - Global Alliance for the Future of Food]
Time: Nov 15, 2019 (04:30 PM - 05:30 PM)
Room: CC M100 A

Abstract 1 Title: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Sustainable Transformations: Reflections from the Global Environment Facility

Presentation Abstract 1:

What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for the achievement of sustainable transformations? The GEF IEO will present evidence from a recent evaluation wherein transformational interventions are defined as engagements that help achieve deep, systemic, and sustainable change with large-scale impact in an area of global environmental concern. By strategically selecting projects that address environmental challenges of global concern and are purposely designed to support fundamental changes in key economic systems, GEF interventions are more likely to cause a large-scale and sustainable impact, subject to the quality of execution and supportive contextual conditions. The evaluation assesses the factors and circumstances that have triggered and supported transformational changes, and establishes conditions which make a difference in specific contexts.

Abstract 2 Title: Grappling with Transformation in the Green Climate Fund
Presentation Abstract 2:

What is transformation? Can we parse the concept into smaller parts that can then be understood to be necessary and/or sufficient attributes of transformation? Using data from the investments of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), equivalent to approximately $5 Billion, the panelist will present key findings from evaluations undertaken by the Independent Evaluation Unit of the GCF, and reflect on what other information may be required to credibly and reliably inform the overall ‘transformational’ mandate of the Green Climate Fund. Specifically, the presentation will focus on the variance of definitions made by GCF investments and will aim to arrive at a basic understanding of what “transformation” could mean while being measurable and evaluable.

Abstract 3 Title: Building A Blue Marble Baseline
Presentation Abstract 3:

A promising area of research and practice is focusing around the concept of place-based transformations systems. This work recognizes the need for systemic forms of intervention and the role of innovations and disruption, as well as the need to develop soft and hard infrastructure to support the emergence of transformative change. This includes strategically working with those who are engaging in bioregional transformation to co-create a meta-measurement system that begins with the establishment of a Blue Marble Baseline, based on the principles of Blue Marble Evaluation. The baseline is a first step to track progress of change efforts, emergence of radical innovations that may become part of the patterns of a new future.

Abstract 4 Title: Opportunities and Challenges for Transformational Systems Change Interventions and Evaluation. Reflections from the Experience of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food.
Presentation Abstract 4:

The Global Alliance (GA) aims to leverage the transformation of food systems towards greater renewability, resilience, equity, health, interconnectedness and diversity. In order to help them promoting and keeping track of these transformations, the GA hired in 2017 a Global Systems Change (Blue Marble) Evaluator - the first ever person with this designation. The presentation will reflect on opportunities made possible by the increasing wealth of approaches and methodologies in evaluation, with a special focus on Blue Marble Evaluation pioneered by Michael Quinn Patton. It will highlight the need to transcend the project/program mentality and reconsider the traditional use of terms such as “impacts”, “attribution” and “contribution” when dealing with this transformation paradigm.


Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

With the implementation of initiatives to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came the realization that profound changes are urgently needed from local to global level if the required progress is to be made. “Transformation” has become a buzzword; everywhere, initiatives are found that claim to be transformational. This provides evaluators with the challenge not only to evaluate what is said to be “transformation”, but to evaluate for transformation – in other words, to evaluate in a manner that can help increase the chance of success. But what do we know about how to do this? Where are we in meeting this challenge? What should be our focus? This panel aims to foster dialogue around these important questions by drawing on their own experiences as well as state of the art insights from around the world.

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Cancellation Policy: Refunds less a $50 fee will be granted for requests received in writing prior to 11:59 PM EDT October 11, 2019. Email cancellation requests to registration@eval.org. All refunds are processed after the meeting. After October 11, 2019 all sales are final. For Evaluation 2019, international attendees and presenters who encounter complications due to the international travel environment will have up to 30 days after the event to request a refund and submit appropriate documentation. No administrative fee will apply for approved international requests.