Friday, 28 January 2011

Systems Approaches in Evaluation

The Evaluation Unit of GIZ (ex-GTZ - the organisation implementing a large portion of Germany's official development co-operation) held an international conference early this week, with the title "Systemic Approaches in Evaluation" (25-26 January). It was a huge jamboree bringing together some 200, predominantly German, participants, plus guests from around the world, who exchanged views on "traditional" methods vs. "systemic approaches" vs. "sistematisación".

There was some discussion as to whether "systemic" work was new; some inferred it was a "fashion" --- but the participants were so busy marvelling at the many facets of "systemic" techniques presented at the conference that no-one seemed to bother defining BOUNDARIES (a key concept in systems thinking) of "systemic approaches" and "traditional evaluation" respectively. Certainly many different PERSPECTIVES (another major concept) were represented, and the many networking opportunities may have produced effects in terms of INTER-RELATIONSHIPS (number 1 in the trinity of core concepts proposed by keynote speaker Richard Hummelbrunner). It was pointed out that distinguishing between simple, complicated and complex matters could help; and that a "classical" log-frame model could be turbo-charged by adding a little attention to context and the dynamic, ever-changing nature of life.... And: "Don't try to put the whole world into a single results chain - use several ones!"

The conference documentation should go on its web-site soon - it should be available somewhere near this link or through a search on the new GIZ web-site.

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