Using Evaluation to Fully Support Innovation

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:00 pm - Tue, 25 Apr 2017 1:00 pm
Central Time (CT)

Register Online

  • Free for Alliance members and nonmembers

Webinar Description

Program development, organizational management, and policy design are dominated by evaluation practices that support improvement, judge the overall merit of interventions, and report to external authorities how resources are used and/or the fidelity to an original proposal or model.

Yet, developmental evaluation is an orientation to evaluation that offers a way for social innovators to create social change initiatives within complex or uncertain environments.

In fact, developmental evaluation's approach is similar to the role of research and development because it facilitates
real-time, or close to real-time, feedback to program staff.
It is uniquely suited to situations where an intervention is being developed from scratch, an existing innovation is being adapted or embedded in a new context or the intervention is tackling a complex issue. In these situations, developmental evaluation can help by framing concepts, testing quick iterations, tracking developments, and surfacing issues that warrant the attention of innovators.

Since the publication of Michael Quinn Patton’s first book on the topic in 2011, Development Evaluation: Applying Complexity Concepts to Enhance Innovation and Use, the practice of developmental evaluation has expanded dramatically, the lessons of which are captured in Patton’s second book, Developmental Evaluation Exemplars: Principles in Practice, published in 2015.

This webinar is sponsored in by the Change In Mind initiative, which uses a developmental evaluation approach.

Who Should Attend

  • Directors/managers of programs
  • Quality improvement staff
  • Change in Mind Cohort members

Level of Learning & Objectives

  • The niche for developmental evaluation and how it is distinct from more traditional types of assessment
  • Emerging principles of developmental evaluation practice
  • What to consider when adopting and integrating a developmental evaluation approach 


Michael Patton, with more than 45 years of experience as an evaluator, is a generalist who uses various methods, especially mixed methods, and focuses on adapting the design to the situation, intended uses, and intended users to maximize use. He calls this utilization-focused evaluation, which he pioneered in the 1970's.

He has worked with organizations and programs at the international, national, state, and local levels, and with philanthropic, nonprofit, private sector, and government programs.

As a generalist, he has worked across the full range of efforts at improving human effectiveness and results, including programs in leadership development, education, human services, public health, employment, anti-poverty programs, diversity, effective governance, and futuring.

His recent work has focused on developmental evaluation and principles-driven evaluation, both of which he pioneered, and are based on complexity theory and systems thinking. Patton is co-author of Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed with Frances Westley and Brenda Zimmerman.

Direct questions to Ann Koerner, associate at the Alliance, at 414-359-6562. 

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