Dive into Developmental Evaluation

The following resources offer a guide to the practice of DE. Like the initiatives it serves, DE is highly-context specific, so as you make your way through these, you might ask yourself what DE would look like in different contexts or what would it mean to bring evaluative thinking to the decision-making process of your project or innovation team.

Before undertaking a DE, it’s critical to consider not only if DE is the right fit for your initiative but also if your team, your partner organisations and your evaluator are ready to take DE approach. The DE Primer (see Dip) and the Practitioners Guide (see below) have useful tools for making quick assessments of the DE “readiness” of an organisation or initiative.

DE requires a highly skilled evaluator who understands complex environments and can work collaboratively within a team. Fortunately, we have a number of DE specialists in Canada; like, Marc Langlois and two of his DE colleagues who have recently written a guide for DE practitioners. This report, and the project it was based on, Youthscape, illustrates how different the DE roles can be from those associated with traditional evaluators.

SiG actively encourages funders and other decision makers to support DE, as part of creating conditions that encourage social innovation. Funders that are leading for significant social change need to promote evaluation techniques that can support those goals. Critical to any team, and particularly for funders, is the notion of accountability and what this requires when an emphasis is placed on adaptation and on-going development. Please read this document from the Centre for Evaluation Innovation on the benefits of “nudge.”

Note: A complete list of all SiG educational resources can be found in our publicly-available document library. We hope you’ve found this pathway to learning about Developmental Evaluation helpful.