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Wednesday, September 18 • 10:30am - 11:30am
Un-boxed: Developmental evaluation's great strength and ultimate challenge

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Samantha Togni (S2 Consulting), Kate McKegg (Knowledge Institute / Kinnect Group), Nan Wehipeihana (Kinnect Group)

Complex social and environmental issues increasingly challenge us to innovate to promote equity and sustainability. Evaluation in these real-world settings is important to support innovation effectiveness; it is also challenging, as conventional evaluation is not a good fit with innovation and complexity. Developmental evaluation responds to these challenges by integrating evaluation with the innovation, informing development through iterative learning.

DE is agnostic to methods. Rather, it is a relationship-based approach guided by essential principles brought to life in ways and to degrees relevant to the context. In this way it is agile and adaptive to support innovation development and learning in real-time with rigorous evaluation. This is DE's greatest strength; it is 'un-boxed' from the constraints of conventional evaluation design, enabling the evaluation to move with the innovation and embrace emergence and complexity. Simultaneously, this is DE's ultimate challenge: what is DE exactly and how do you do it?

Australian and international Indigenous and non-Indigenous DE evaluator panellists respond to these challenging questions, critically reflecting on our practice. We will explore: how you describe and know you are doing DE when it looks different in different contexts; how you convince commissioners of its value when you cannot know in advance exactly what it will entail and what data will be collected; and how do you define rigour in DE? We will examine DE's relationships-based nature and the assertion that the evaluator is the key 'tool' in this approach, exploring the strengths of the DE principles. We will invite audience sharing of DE definitions and experiences.

Recognition is growing of DE's value in supporting innovation development in complexity. DE is challenging and re-defining what we mean by evaluation. We need to develop our knowledge base on DE practice to better understand how it works and what it takes.

avatar for Ghislain Arbour

Ghislain Arbour

Senior Lecturer, The University of Melbourne
Doctor Ghislain Arbour is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne where he coordinates the Master of Evaluation.*Research and consultancy*A primary research interest of Dr Arbour is the clarification of necessary concepts in the analysis and judgement of the performance of... Read More →


Samantha Togni

Evaluation & Social Research Consultant, S2 Consulting
Samantha Togni is an evaluation and social research consultant based in Alice Springs. She has more than 20 years’ experience in Indigenous health and wellbeing research and evaluation, working with rural and remote Aboriginal organisations in northern and central Australia. Her... Read More →
avatar for Kate McKegg

Kate McKegg

Director, The Kinnect Group
Kate has specialist skills in supporting evaluative thinking and practice in complex settings where people are innovating to create systems change. She has been applying these skills for over 25 years in government, non-government, philanthropic and community contexts, including many... Read More →
avatar for Nan Wehipeihana

Nan Wehipeihana

Ms, Kinnect Group
Nan Wehipeihana has more than 20 years' experience designing, leading and managing evaluations. Nan's work is characterised by a commitment to protecting, evidencing and growing the space to be Maori in Aotearoa New Zealand and offering insights into Maori worldviews and values. Internationally... Read More →

Wednesday September 18, 2019 10:30am - 11:30am AEST
Pyrmont Theatre