Welcome to Evaluating Systems Change and Place-Based Approaches

Although systems change and place-based approaches (PBAs) are not new, there is limited understanding of their impact and how to evaluate them due to their complexity, the number of stakeholders involved, the range of changes initiated, and their long-term nature. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for evaluating systems change and place-based approaches. Evaluation needs to be context specific and based on the community and collective needs of partners and stakeholders.
In this course, we’ll be introducing you to relevant key concepts, case studies, tools to use, challenges, what has worked and what to consider moving forward.

As a learner, you may be:

Doing this course because you are completely new to the area and want to learn about the key topics;
Involved in systems change and PBAs; or/and
An evaluator who is working or intending to work these spaces.

Ultimately, we hope this is a great learning experience that speaks to the many different types of learners that are engaging in this course.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Understand what systems change and place-based approaches are and how they differ from programmatic responses
  • Identify key practice principles for evaluating systems change and place-based approaches
  • Develop a phased theory of change model for a case study
  • Select key evaluation questions for a case study
  • Identify appropriate methods/tools to use for a case study


Welcome to Evaluating Systems Change and Place-Based Approaches – Video transcript

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The Clear Horizon Academy is a learning initiative of Clear Horizon.

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which Clear Horizon is located and where we conduct our business. We pay our respects to Elders, past, present and emerging. Clear Horizon is deeply committed to honouring Indigenous peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and seas; and to transforming evaluation practice to uphold and reflect Indigenous values.
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Dr Jess Dart 3

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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