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

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Why provide feedback?

Feedback is an important part of MSC. You’ll need to feed back the results of your selection process to the people who provided significant change stories, making sure that you explain which story was chosen as the most significant and why.

Feedback like this can expand or challenge participants’ views of what is significant. Feedback about the process can help participants assess the quality of judgments made together. It also shows that other people have read and engaged with the stories, rather than just filing them away – common to a lot of monitoring data.

Feedback helps complete a communication loop between different levels of participants in an organisation because it creates an ongoing dialogue about what significant change is and how it can inform changes in a program for the future.

How to provide feedback?

Feedback can be provided in a number of ways, including through conversation, email, newsletters and reports.

Some examples include:

  • Informal reports shared after each selection meeting including which stories were selected (and not selected) and why and any action items
  • Regular verbal or email feedback to the program team
  • Formal reports produced annually which contain all selected stories and funders’ feedback
  • Community newsletters including selected stories and reasons for their selection provided to all participants
  • YouTube or video sharing the selected stories and reasons for selection

The benefits of feedback to the community

When you provide feedback in wider forums like newsletters, you can access a range of benefits. It is motivating for people to read success stories and can give participants ideas about how they might reach one of their goals.

It’s also a great way to celebrate what the organisation has achieved, and has a morale-boosting effect for staff and participants. It’s also a way to ensure a transparent process, especially if you include the reasons why the stories were selected.

Risks of giving feedback to the community

There is a risk that giving feedback to the community about which changes the program team does and doesn’t value might make them feel like the program is trying to tell them how they should develop.

One way to overcome this is to involve beneficiaries in story selection. If you do this, feedback about stories will come from beneficiaries as well as program staff. This approach can ensure there is a balanced view.


MSC Step 5 (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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