Complexity in Evaluation: My Latest Thinking on What Matters

Over the years I have written, lectured, and done workshops about how (and when) Evaluation should draw from Complexity Science. Over that time my beliefs have evolved with respect to what aspects of Complexity Science matter, and how evaluation methodologies can be applied to understand program activity and the consequences of program action. This post … Continue reading Complexity in Evaluation: My Latest Thinking on What Matters

Installment One of an Occasional Series: Applied Complexity – Tools for Understanding Programs and their Consequences

The primary objective of this series is to provide evaluators with the capability to apply constructs from Complexity Science to evaluation practice. This objective is bookended with two others. The first is to give evaluators a broad conceptual understanding of Complexity. The other is to provide an appreciation of how Complexity can influence how we conceptualize pattern, predictability, and the reasons for change. Our intention is to accomplish the primary goal within each case that is presented. The "bookended" goals will be achieved over time, as readers see the relevance of complexity in multiple cases.

Questions That Could Benefit from an Understanding of Complexity

In preparation for a workshop on complexity that I am giving at EES 2022, I am preparing a list of questions whose answers could benefit from an understanding of complex behavior. Below is the list. If anyone has additions, let me know. Why is diverse intellectual input desirable?What theories of change underlie statistical thinking?When does … Continue reading Questions That Could Benefit from an Understanding of Complexity

Complexity-Informed Evaluation – An Exploration in Understanding Pattern, Predictability, and How Change Happens.

Description I am presenting a professional development workshop at the upcoming meeting of the European Evaluation Association. The workshop description appears below. The content of this workshop will be a succession of lectures, group discussions, and breakout exercises to provide participants with the understanding needed to recognize how complex behavior might play a role in … Continue reading Complexity-Informed Evaluation – An Exploration in Understanding Pattern, Predictability, and How Change Happens.

What Does Complexity Have to Say About the Learning Organization?

This is the text of a post I recently contributed to Evaltalk, the listserv of the American Evaluation Association. Organizational Learning as Adaptation I see organizational learning in terms of potential for adaptation in a changing environment. Environments can change rapidly or slowly, which makes for two different kinds of adaptive capacity. (I’m a big … Continue reading What Does Complexity Have to Say About the Learning Organization?

Two Complexity Constructs to Reorient the Logic of Planning and Evaluation

Recently I was asked to prepare a brief presentation for people in the prediction business – planners and evaluators whose work was preoccupied with some form of the question: If I do this, what will happen? The audience brought a traditional if > then logic to the way they answered this question. They knew that … Continue reading Two Complexity Constructs to Reorient the Logic of Planning and Evaluation

Project Schedules, Program Models and Complexity: Linking Across Three Domains

PDF version: Schedules_logic_models_complexity_Morell_2_18_22 In 2018 I published an article making the case for using project schedules (in the form of PERT and Gantt charts) as logic models (Morell, 2018).[2] I offered two reasons for doing so. Using a project schedule as a logic model can reveal unique insight. Because planners and managers pay more attention … Continue reading Project Schedules, Program Models and Complexity: Linking Across Three Domains

How Much Diverse Intellectual Input Should Be Included When Planning an Evaluation? (Revised)

How Much Diverse Intellectual Input Should Be Included When Planning an Evaluation? I addressed this question some time ago in my book on unintended consequences. It’s time to revisit the question. What is the Optimal Amount of Diverse Opinion? My interest in this question stems from an article I recently read in Foreign Affairs about … Continue reading How Much Diverse Intellectual Input Should Be Included When Planning an Evaluation? (Revised)