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

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What is MSC? Copy

Clear Horizon September 23, 2019

Video: What is MSC?

In this video, you learned about what the MSC technique is and how it is used by organisations and groups around the world to monitor and evaluate projects and programs. You also learned how MSC is different from other conventional approaches, and why stories are used.

How was MSC developed?

The technique was first developed in Bangladesh by Rick Davies. He was involved in a participatory rural development program run by the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB), a Bangladeshi non-government organisation. In 1996, the organisation had over 500 staff and worked with more than 46,000 people in 785 villages. Approximately 80% of the program beneficiaries were women. Because the project was large in scale and incorporated many open-ended activities, it was difficult to design a system to monitor and evaluate the process and outcomes. MSC was developed to collect and systematically analyse significant change as experienced by the program beneficiaries.

Jess Dart got involved with MSC as part of her PhD. While Rick was working in Bangladesh, Jess found herself with a similar dilemma, facing the same challenge in a similar context. Jess read about Rick’s method and thought it was much better than hers. She later got a scholarship to do a PhD and decided to test the MSC technique in Australia.

Together, Rick and Jess wrote the User Guide to MSC in 2005, which has now been translated into 12 languages. It is widely used in the international development sector, and across many other sectors, including the Australian and New Zealand government (examples include agricultural extension, education and community health). It is used by small community groups and large corporate organisations and has an active email membership group you can join.

Next, we’ll take a look at some of the projects and people that are using the MSC technique around the world.

Extra reading

If you’d like to know more about the History of MSC, please read Chapter 8 of the MSC User Guide.


What is MSC? (Video transcript)

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Jess Dart sq

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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