Because transformation is a complex process, any theory of change used to understand or measure it must be steeped in the principles of complexity.
Lately I have been spending a lot of time thinking about two subjects: 1) models (program, logic, change, etc.) and 2) complex behavior. (Not complex systems. I don’t like that subject.) It occurred to me that different models are relevant at different time scales. Most of the models one sees in the evaluation world involve … Continue reading A complexity perspective on a theory of change for long term program effects
My last blog post dealt with why evaluators should focus on complex behavior as opposed to complex systems. Bob Williams made a comment about how the post made a lot of sense, but that it conveyed the impression that evaluators do not have to worry about complexity theory. Evaluators do need to be concerned with … Continue reading What complexity theory do evaluators need to know?
I have been to a lot of conferences that had many sessions on ways to assure program sustainability. There is also a lot of really good research literature on this topic. Also, sustainability is a topic that has been front and center in my own work of late. Analyses and explanations of sustainability inevitably end … Continue reading A simple recipe for improving the odds of sustainability: A systems perspective
I’m in the process of working up a presentation for the upcoming conference of the American Evaluation Association:. Successful Scale-up Of Promising Pilots: Challenges, Strategies, and Measurement Considerations. (It will be a great panel. You should attend if you can.) This is the abstract for my presentation. Title: Complex System Behavior as a Lens to … Continue reading A Complex System Perspective on Program Scale-up and Replication
What is the relationship between path dependence and system stability?
Understanding sustainability – systems as a framework, thermodynamics as a metaphor
Please also look at publications by W.E. Grant. He and his colleagues apply population ecology concepts to a wide range of issues, from sustainability to applied philosophy. For my doctorate we did exactly what you describe, in particular, looking at ways that environmental trends influenced likelihood of ameliorating results vs chaotic or downward spiraling results … Continue reading Kim Norris’ comment on Jam’s original Evaltalk post about population ecology and program sustainability
eminds me of a lava lamp metaphor that I created about a year ago to understand programs more as blobs of motivational energy
One difference between environmental sustainability, such as biological populations, I think, is that human directed programs