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Exploring what COVID-19 means for changes to our evaluation practice

 While COVID-19 has significantly disrupted our lives, a closer inspection shows we are not all impacted in the same ways. For example, some groups have experienced huge financial and social impacts, while others have not. Recently, practitioners in the fields of economic development and evaluation made sense of the fast-shifting contexts they find themselves in during two events I attended: the Economic Development New Zealand (EDNZ) online conference and the Australian Evaluation Society...

October 8, 2020

Contracting public health and social services: Insights from complexity theory for Aotearoa New Zealand

Public health and social services are often hard to specify, complex to deliver and challenging to measure. This research uses a complexity theory-informed lens to explore the challenges and opportunities of contracting out for public health and social services in Aotearoa New Zealand. This qualitative study considers the implications of complexity concepts with ten public sector managers experienced in contracting out for public health and social services.Our newly published findings show ...

September 8, 2020

Videoconferencing: the new normal for getting work done

IntroductionWorking online and working at home are not new to us, and probably aren’t to you either. But suddenly we find ourselves doing it more, and under different circumstances. For example, meetings, workshops and interviews that a couple of weeks ago we’d have planned to hold face-to-face, are now moving to videoconference. In these new situations, we’re finding that we need to work a bit differently. We’re learning that with the right technology, skilled facilitation and some...

March 21, 2020

Envirolink Evaluation completed

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment commissioned Pragmatica to review the Envirolink scheme and inform them of how well the scheme operates, and whether it achieved its intended outcomes and provided value for money. This was the first review of the scheme since it commenced in 2005. The results of the review were positive and we rated the scheme very good overall. The review also provided evidence that the scheme makes a worthwhile and valuable contribution in supporting eligibl...

December 9, 2019

Rubrics — a tool for unboxing evaluative reasoning

Judy Oakden presented this session about rubrics along with the rest of the Kinnect Group at the Australian Evaluation Conference.Rubrics are an intuitive way of implementing evaluation-specific methodology. They can be used in a wide variety of evaluation contexts to unbox, demystify and democratise evaluative reasoning, by facilitating a clear, shared understanding of how quality, value and effectiveness are defined.This panel presented case examples of rubrics from different contexts, illustr...

October 1, 2019

Evaluation Building Blocks: A guide

With colleagues from Kinnect Group we published an e-book on the use of rubrics in evaluation.Download your copy hereThe Kinnect Group developed the ideas in this book over ten years of collaboration. This e-book was a recommended reading in the Better Evaluation Christmas reading list. Better Evaluation is a website which collects best evaluation practice from around the globe.  It aims to build “evaluation practice, evaluation capacity strengthening and research and development in evalu...

March 14, 2019

“Making sense of the mess” Adaptive Action Lab

Change is quickening for individuals, communities, and institutions around the world. Often change brings excitement and opportunity, but sometimes it challenges us. How do we adapt to that change and cope with the messiness that results?  Judy Oakden recently collaborated with Glenda Eoyang to run this virtual Adaptive Action Lab.Participants learned to use simple, powerful tools to help make sense of their chaotic change to:Tell the difference between complex change and merely complicated...

November 5, 2018

Applying complexity theory to contracting out…the journey so far

Judy Oakden presented a paper at the Operations Research Conference, Lancaster UK in September 2018. This presentation helped form the early stages of her MPhil research.Judy discussed some of the issues found in the literature related to contracting out for complex public health and social services. She found evidence in the literature that contracts can:be too tightly specifiedbe for time-frames that are too shortsupport superficial relationshipsassume linear cause and effect between what is c...

September 13, 2018

Dealing with complex change in evaluation

Judy Oakden and Glenda Eoyang recently ran a workshop at the ANZEA conference Auckland. Glenda participated via Zoom from the US and Judy facilitated in the room.The workshop focused on how to deal with complex change in evaluation. It offered some simple tools to use in a range of evaluation settings. Participants were able to explore some of their current intractable issues.Feedback from the workshop was very positive. Value for money of this workshop was rated highly (4.6 out of 5)....

July 17, 2018

Regional Growth Programme Evaluation published

We have completed an evaluation for MBIE and MPI of the Regional Growth Programme (RGP). The evaluation assessed whether the RGP worked as intended.  It reviewed some aspects of the RGP implementation, systems and processes and assessed the value of the results so far. This evaluation focused on ways government agencies worked with each other. It also considered ways central agencies liaised with the regional stakeholders and with Māori in the regions. It was not an evaluation of regional ...

April 3, 2018

Understanding the components of evaluative rubrics – new thoughts

In this new e-book, Judy Oakden explores the different ways evaluative rubrics can be constructed from three basic components: key aspects of performancelevels of performanceimportance of each aspect of performance Here she shows some alternative ways she has combined the components in her own practice. She discusses the benefits and challenges of each approach. Click here to view the e-book:  Oakden, J. 2018 Understanding the components of evaluative rubrics....

February 27, 2018

Putting the fun and useful back into systems approaches in evaluation practice

Judy Oakden co-facilitated a workshop session with Marah Moore and Jan Noga at the American Evaluation Association Conference in Washington recently. It was a great chance to think about how we apply systems thinking in our evaluation practice. We used an appreciative inquiry approach to help participants reflect on when using systems thinking works well in their evaluation practice. We agreed to run this workshop again in different settings. If you are interested in having a session on usi...

November 14, 2017

Adaptive evaluation paper recently published in Emergence: Complexity and Organisation journal

Glenda Eoyang and Judy Oakden recently had a paper called Adaptive Evaluation: A synergy between complexity theory and evaluation practice published in the journal Emergence: Complexity and Organisation.To download the artlcle, click here...

June 28, 2017

You may know what evaluative rubrics are, but how do you do them in practice?

Joint presentation with Jane Davidson and other Kinnect Group colleagues at CES Vancouver. Along with Jane Davidson, Kinnect Group members, Judy Oakden, Julian King, Nan Wehipeihana and Kate McKegg presented Evaluative Rubrics – delivering well reasoned answers to real evaluative questions recently at the Canadian Evaluation Society in Vancouver, May 2017.You may know what evaluative rubrics are, but how do you do them in practice?How do you use them to: engage stakeholders...

May 20, 2017

Evaluation rubrics look easy but can be hard to do well: lessons from the field

Judy Oakden presented a paper on evaluation rubrics, and some lessons learned over the last five years’ in their use at the American Evaluation Association conference in Chicago. Drawing on some ideas from Human Systems Dynamics this paper was developed in collaboration with Glenda Eoyang....

November 30, 2015

Delivering Developmental Evaluation workshops in Australia

Judy Oakden co-presented two full day Developmental Evaluation workshops with Kate McKegg at the Australian Evaluation Association Conference. For more information on these workshops in Melbourne and Canberra click here....

September 10, 2015

So now you’ve got the data – what next?

udy Oakden, along with Irene Guijt and Kate McKegg, presented a paper on collaborative sensemaking to navigate diversity at the Australasian Evaluation Society conference. Click here to download PDF....

September 10, 2015

Reaching across boundaries in high stakes collaboration

Judy Oakden, along with Kate McKegg and Viv Twyford presented a paper about our learnings about evaluating high stakes collaboration in local government settings at the Australasian Evaluation Society conference.Download PDF here....

September 10, 2015

Presenting at ANZEA conference

On 7 July Judy Oakden spoke at the Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA) conference in Auckland on three complexity approaches in Human Systems Dynamics that evaluators can easily use in their work. Her presentation was called ‘A new compass for dealing with complexity when we are all at sea’....

July 7, 2015

Received Human Systems Dynamics professional certification

Judy Oakden received Human Systems Dynamics professional certification from the Human Systems Dynamics Institute (USA). She has expertise in complexity theory and uses HSD in her evaluation practice. In particular she finds:  HSD provides useful process for figuring out what to do next at each stage in the evaluation HSD provides approaches which can be used in developing useful evaluative rubrics which can be used to make judgments of the quality, value and importance of the evaluand ...

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