Evaluating Outside the Box: Evaluation’s Transformational Potential

Evaluation out of the box

The call for transformation is a response to the dire global emergency; it is a call for radical innovation at multiple levels if humanity is to survive into the next Century. How can evaluation, a profession in the business of assessment and advising, inform and hasten transformation? As a field that straddles both theory and practice, evaluation is uniquely positioned to support transformational learning and change, but this potential depends on its ability to transform from within. This article identifies four interrelated “boxes” that confine evaluation’s transformational potential: a project fixation, a short-term temporal fixation, a quantitative fixation, and an accountability fixation. It also examines the uptake and influence of complex systems analysis in the field of evaluation as a means to “breakout” of these boxes and nudge evaluation towards the inner transformation required for it to contribute to transformational change.

Scott Chaplowe

Author Bio: IEAc Council Member Scott Chaplowe

Scott is the Coordinator of the Transformational Evaluations Working Group. Scott Chaplowe has co-authored this article with Adam Hejnowlicz titled,  Evaluating Outside the Box: Evaluation’s Transformational Potential, in the recent edition of the Social Innovations Journal on Innovative Practices for Systems Transformations.

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