RESOURCES – Evaluating complex community change Master Class

This month Collaboration for Impact hosted Mark Cabaj – international thought and practice leader on evaluating change in complex settings, social innovation and systems change.  Mark is the President of From Here to There Consulting and previous Vice President of Tamarack Institute.

Together, Collaboration for Impact and Mark delivered 3 Master Classes around the country – Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. This post shares the slides and resources from the Master Classes.

Part 1 – getting grounded

The Mater Classes kicked off with some framing on complexity, the six conversations of the Master Class and getting to know each other.  The slides for Part 1 are:

Part 2 – complex issues and adaptive responses

The second part reviewed the different types of social challenges we face – simple, complicated, complex and chaotic.  The leadership needed to make progress in complex challenges is known as adaptive leadership.  The leadership approach was overviewed at a high level and married with the type of practice or design needed (participatory, experimental and systems thinking).  The tensions inherent in adaptive responses to complex problems were explored as well as the high stakes of getting it right.  The slides and resources for Part 2 are:

Part 3 – Going deeper on evaluation issues

This third and final part of the Master Class looked at the evaluation through the lens of social innovation.  The evaluation approach required for the early phases of social innovation is developmental evaluation.  Time was spent unpacking and understanding the difference between traditional evaluation and developmental evaluation.

Five challenges facing evaluation of complex community change were shared and explored.  They were:

  1. Conceptualising the intervention
  2. Measuring systems change
  3. Unanticipated outcomes
  4. Attribution of outcomes to interventions
  5. The role evaluator.

The slides, resources and tools for this Part are:

Developmental evaluation

Measuring systems change

Conceptualizing the intervention

The role of the evaluator

Collaboration consultation process

Participant contact details (NB: shared with consent)

We very much hope the Master Class met your learning needs.  Certainly the evaluations we have received so far rate the learning experience on average between 8.75 – 9.75 out of 10.  The suggested improvements relate to:

  • having more time
  • having resources available during the Class.

The evaluation feedback also indicated that there is demand for learning about Adaptive Leadership for Collective Impact and complex community change.

Collaboration for Impact are about to offer a day-long Workshop on this.  If you have an interest in pre-registering or booking an  workshop in your area, please reach out to Kyrstie Dunn on


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