Last week, I spent the day with the Big Lottery Fund and a bunch of evaluators who are running five large evaluations of major BLF programmes. The evaluators come together regularly to exchange and learn from each other’s experiences. This meeting was focusing on the topic of evaluation and complexity. I was asked by BLF to set the scene by talking about what complexity is and why it is relevant for evaluation. Afterwards, I enjoyed listening to the evaluators on how they made sense of complexity and the consequences for their evaluations. Here a summary of my inputs and some insights from the subsequent discussion. Continue reading →
I hope you are enjoying the festive season (if applicable) and wish you all a great start into the new year! Thanks a lot for your continuous support by reading and sharing my blog and re-tweeting it into your networks!
My presentation was about transformational economic change and in it I tried to convey the basic ideas on how change happens in the economy, wrapped in the example of the “Growing Rubber Opportunities” (GRO) Project I have been supporting over the last four years in Myanmar. Continue reading →
I will be presenting the Systemic M&E Initiative at the upcoming MPEP Seminar on Thursday, April 25 in Washington DC. You can either participate in person or via Webinar. More information on the event and the possibility to register can be found here.
The presentation will have two parts. In the first part, I will present a general introduction to systems and complexity and why this is relevant for our work in development. In the second part, I will feature the seven principles we derived from the practitioner discussions during the Systemic M&E initiative.
I was very lucky to be invited to present my work using the Systems Dynamics Analysis methodology at the SEEP Network‘s annual conference last week in Arlington, VA.
I presented the methodology based on the work I did in Mongolia on the problem of pastoralism and pastureland degradation. Based on my presentation and my script I prepared a special version of the Prezi I used with more text so it can also be understood without me presenting. This extended presentation can be accessed here.
The main goals of the presentation were to show the participants a concrete and practical tool that improves our way of looking at systems and their dynamics. Especially, I presented the loop analysis as an alternative to the widely used tools based on linear causal chains.
My presentation of the Systems Dynamics Analysis was well framed by Lucho Osorio from Practical Action who was setting the scene introducing the concept of working in complex realities and how Practical action uses the participatory market mapping to better reflect the reality as well as Tjip Walker from USAID who gave an insight perspective of how USAID is approaching the issue (he was actually also involved in organizing the event on complexity within USAID on which I wrote here). This short article gives an idea of the whole session.
The feedback I and my fellow panelists received was very encouraging. Many practitioners approached us with a clear message: these concepts of complexity and the system dynamics analysis are seen as very potential to better reflect the realities in the field and improve not only the ability to plan better and more effective interventions, but also to improve the ability to show and report the more intangible changes on a system level.
This positive feedback gives us enormous motivation to go ahead with our work on how to better embrace complexity in our work in international development and beyond. I am keen to report in this blog how this work is progressing.