Webinar with Dr Martin Reynolds, Open University: "Making Policy and Making Policy Work with Developmental Evaluation."

Systems thinking

CECAN Webinar 24th July 2018  13.00-14.00 BST

"Making policy and making policy work with developmental evaluation."

Dr Martin Reynolds  (Applied Systems Thinking in Practice (ASTiP) Group, School of Engineering & Innovation, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA. UK)  

Brief Synopsis

Developmental evaluation endeavours to reconfigure evaluation practice away from merely serving purposes of external accountability of policy towards making evaluation integral to the dualistic practice of policy making and policy implementation.  Whilst ideas on developmental evaluation from Michael Quinn Patton have gained traction with increasing concern over interventions in contexts of rapid change and uncertainty, endeavours have focused on applying concepts principally from a tradition of complexity science. A key challenge is in making such concepts work for evaluators and other stakeholders.

A framework of developmental evaluation is introduced based on a simple heuristic founded on three principles from a tradition of systems thinking in practice – understanding inter-relationships, engaging with multiple perspectives, and reflecting on boundary judgements. Two case stories of developmental evaluation are used to illustrate the workings of the heuristic towards making policy and making policy work.


Senior Lecturer and Qualifications Director for the postgraduate programme –Systems Thinking in Practice at The Open University (UK). Martin was lead editor of both The Environmental Responsibility Reader (2009), Zed Publications, and Systems Approaches to Managing Change: A Practical Guide (2010), Springer. Martin specialises in applying critical systems thinking in practice with evaluation in different areas of professional development and intervention including international development, public sector management, business development, education, health, and environmental management.  He has published widely in these fields. Many of Martin’s papers – including his own chapters from the two edited publications – are available free of access on his Open Research Online list of publications.

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