Conference Wrap Up & Presentations
On 10 and 11 April, Collaboration for Impact, supported by amazing partners Mark Cabaj, Clear Horizons, the Developmental Evaluation Institute, the Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre and the Centre for Social Impact, brought together 120 passionate social change agents to engage in shared learning about how to evaluate our progress and impact in complexity. This post shares the conference presentations and other resources referenced.
- Opened with Uncle Colin Hunter from the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation welcoming us to county. He handed out eucalyptus leaves, which many of us slipped inside our name tags as a reminder of the country we came to learn upon.
- We framed up the purpose of the conference and the theme of Finding our way together, and introduced everyone to our two provocateurs – Skye and Liz who provided questions and reflections at the end of each session from an Indigenous evaluation and adaptive leadership perspective respectively.
- A panel session from Mark, Kate and Zazie ensured we started with a shared understanding of systems change and the role of evaluation.
- Des and Christy introduced us to how a collective of Indigenous leaders – called Empowered Communities were approaching the work of systems change. Des shared what Indigenous-led systems change looked like in the East Kimberly region and Christy shared how that leadership is enabled by good facilitation, data, evidence and reflection.
- Jess and Kerry demonstrated the next evolution of participatory evaluation - co-evaluation and proposed it could replace summative external evaluation in complexity.
- We then broke into concurrent sessions, where some of us leant about:
- A workshop on principles focused evaluation with Mark.
- A workshop on Indigenous evaluation approaches with Nan and Skye who also provided a workbook.
- We then broke into a Learning Buffet where we got to engage with 17 possible topics and their speakers to vote up 6 learning sessions for Day 2.
- We closed the learning part of day 1 with Skye and Liz helping us work through the questions that had emerged across the day related to indigenous evaluation and adaptive leadership.
- We closed the networking part of day 1 by sharing drinks and food together
- We opened with a reflective session and learnt that people had been cogitating on the role of the evaluator in systems change and in Indigenous-led change. We felt the discomfort that comes when our existing and comfortable way of working comes under scrutiny (by ourselves or others). There was a calling for more trust, more sharing of power and more valuing of diverse types of knowledge. We created some space for further conversation.
- We moved into a panel on the tyranny of metrics with Mark, Jack, Kate and Jess who advocated for a mixed methods approach.
- We then broke into concurrent sessions on;
- Contribution analysis with Mark that include a tool from Jess.
- Critical systems heuristics with Kate.
- Indigenous and adapted approaches with Nan.
- Place based evaluation guide and handout with Jess.
- Intelligent failure learning loops with Mark.
- The theory of change of systems change with Zazie (presentation to be provided shortly).
- We also started an exploration of how the role of the evaluator in Indigenous-led systems change needs to be better understood and framed. Collaboration for Impact, Atlantic Fellows and the Paul Ramsey Foundation committed to co-convening further dialog on this. Since the conference, Nan and Kate from the Developmental Evaluation Institute have offered to contribute to this conversation. The aim is to take some thinking to the Australasian Evaluation Society conference in September. If you are interested in contributing to this thinking pease reach out to Liz Skelton.
- Five brave conference participants then presented their challenge around complexity and evaluation to speakers and fellow delegates using an action learning approached called case consultations.
- After debriefing the case consultations we closed he conference with a highly stimulating panel where Liz Gillies asked Mark, Fiona, Liz, Linda and surprise guest Michael Quinn Patton ‘what does the future hold?’. It was a fast paced, high caliber session which you’ll get more from by watching again here.
Across the Conference we kept a running list of other resources mentioned. They are:
- Most significant change
- Theory U
- 12 intervention points in systems change
- Collaborating with the enemy
- Going horizontal.
The conference closed with sincere thanks to all who made it possible – convenors, hosts, speakers, facilitators and participants all working together to create learning, adaptation and progress in addressing the most complex challenges we face as communities, nations and our planet.