23/11/2023 | Co-authors Jess Dart, Lucia Boxelaar, Zazie Tolmer
In October 2023 Clear Horizon launched the “Systems Transformation Unit”. The purpose of the unit is to actively contribute to challenging and rethinking evaluation practice to support systems transformation movements, efforts, and collaborations.
There is a growing appreciation of the need and urgency to develop systemic and place-based responses to meet the complexity of social and environmental challenges. Many organisations and corporations – whether for profit or not for profit – are collaborating beyond their usual boundaries to contribute to systems transformation.
This has implications for how organisations conceive their strategy, and how they understand their progress and value-add. It also has implications for how measurement and evaluation is done, and how evaluators engage with others.
The primary reason for this new unit is our strong belief that we, as evaluators, and the field of evaluation more generally, have an important contribution to make at this critical juncture. Evaluative thinking is essential in enabling strategic planning and policy reform for systems transformation. Careful consideration of how we invest in and innovate our evaluation practices is important, also because simply continuing business-as-usual evaluation and impact measurement will likely constrain systems transformation.
The Unit is grounded in our shifting view of what sort of evaluation is needed for this context. Our evaluation practices and frameworks need to be adapted in three important ways. We need to: