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Evaluating systems change and place-based approaches – Online Course – November, 2019

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Lesson 8, Topic 47
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Reflection on the Osi Tanata stories Copy

Aliki September 23, 2019

Selection is a crucial tool for MSC, but sometimes, we don’t like it because it means we have to get out of our comfort zone. The process isn’t about the outcome – it’s about the conversation we have when we have to choose one of the stories and we explain our choices – it often brings values to the surface.

In the Osi Tanata’s case, stories were reviewed and selected by staff and stakeholders every six months, and by the board and Oxfam New Zealand every year. They focused on categories of changes at the individual level, and changes at the community level – as well as looking for any other changes and lessons learned.

The team developed a database to track all of their stories and conducted a secondary analysis at the end of their reporting period. An external evaluator verified a sample of their stories. The stories that weren’t selected can still be used as data.

In addition to reporting, the team found that stories can be used to:

  • Improve planning
  • Help explain a point to a participant
  • Recruit new participants
  • Help explain a point to another member of staff
  • Improve public relations.

Activity: Reflect on the process

In the discussion area below, please post 2-3 sentences about your experience of choosing the most significant story. Here are some questions to guide you: 

  • Did you immediately know which was ‘the one’ or did you change your mind a few times?
  • How did you finally decide within your group?
  • Was it easy to reach consensus, or did everyone make different choices for different reasons?

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Dr Jess Dart

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Inventor of practical methodologies and highly demanded facilitator, Jess navigates complexity with comfort and helps her clients to become clear about their desired outcomes and how to get there.

Recipient of the 2018 AES Award for outstanding contribution to evaluation, Jess has over 25 years experience in evaluating and designing social change initiatives and strategies in Australia and overseas.

In October 2005, Jess founded Clear Horizon Consulting and is now CEO. She is also a board member of the Australasian Evaluation society.

Jess is passionate about developing and designing real world evaluation and strategy for social justice and sustainability. She particularly works with systems change interventions, large scale strategy and social innovation. After completing her PhD she co-authored the Most Significant Change (MSC) guide alongside Dr Rick Davies, which is now translated into 12 different languages.

MSC is well suited to evaluation in the complex emergent context. The latest innovation by Jess, Collaborative Outcomes Reporting (COR), is a collaborative form of impact evaluation.

Jess is also an active mum and has two teenage boys. In a quiet moment, she loves reading far-future science fiction and enjoys long distance running.

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