CECAN International Symposium on Complexity Approaches to Evaluate Global Nexus Policy Challenges

International Symposium

This month CECAN proudly hosted an International Symposium on complexity approaches to evaluate global nexus policy challenges, at Barnett Hill Hotel in Surrey.

The event was part of the Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science.

Delegates, including representatives from the European Commission and UK Government, came together to share expertise and join the debate.

We were thrilled to connect with leaders and influencers in the evaluation community, from ten different countries;  Germany, USA, Switzerland, Australia, Senegal, Netherlands, South Africa, Belgium, Ireland and Italy.

Over the course of this two-day event topic areas included; The need for complexity sensitive evaluation, exploring complex thinking for sustainable futures, cutting edge evaluation methods and how to increase the uptake of them, and how to get government to deal with complexity.

Knowledge sharing on evaluation methods included; Qualitative comparative analysis, incorporation of agent based modelling into case based methods, and application of complexity science in assessing and evaluating policy.

The symposium was seamlessly facilitated by Paul Brand from Risk Solutions, and delivered through a combination of panel sessions, presentations and interactive breakout groups with valuable Q&A time made available for further discussion amongst delegates.

Some of the key messages that have emerged from the CECAN International Symposium are;

  • To understand our influence and impact on the complex world around us, we need to use the very best in evaluation practice.

  • We need to manage complex systems and evaluations adaptively. Expect change!

  • Complexity requires us to be humbler about our perspective and influence.

  • On first appearances, complexity doesn’t make a strong sales pitch for how to make a policy-maker or programme manager’s life easier. But without an appreciation of complexity, interventions and evaluations may fail to achieve their goals - ignore it at your peril.

  • Finally, appreciating and managing complexity requires interdisciplinarity, bringing diverse disciplines and perspectives together.

We were thrilled to gather such a variety of perspectives on evaluating global nexus challenges and the outcomes of this symposium contribute to CECAN’s ongoing efforts to build an international community of practice in the coming months.

If you would like to get involved in the discussions and work emerging from this event, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Knowledge Integrator, Ben Fagan Watson.

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