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

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How often should stories be collected?

Most applications of MSC are used for monitoring, and this involves a periodic collection of information, but how often this information is collected depends on the organisation. We have seen the frequency of story collection from fortnightly to yearly, with the most common being quarterly to coincide with quarterly reporting in many organisations. If the frequency is too low, you run the risk of staff and participants forgetting how the process works or why they are using it. This might take less time and resources, but it’s likely to take a while for the organisation to learn and fully benefit from MSC. If the frequency is too high, participants will learn quickly, but you may soon exhaust known cases of significant longer-term change and will need to focus on shorter-term significant changes that you can identify. Increased frequency also means increased cost and time.

How often should reporting be done?

You’ll need to make your own decision about what the appropriate reporting period is, for you, by balancing the costs and benefits and allowing for reporting gaps that may exist in your existing monitoring and evaluation processes.

In our experience, it works well to start MSC with regular reporting and decrease the frequency as the process continues. When you start, you may find that there is a backlog of significant change stories that people are keen to document. As you continue and these historical stories are collected, subsequent stories tend to refer to more recent events, and this change may be accompanied by a decrease in the number of available stories.


MSC Step 2 (Video transcript)

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Dr Jess Dart

CEO & Founder

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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