Theme 2_1_

Systems Expert
Bob Williams, Systems Thinking Evaluator and Consultant

ECD Expert
Sharon Goldfeld, Director of the Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital

Shekufeh Zonji, Global Technical Lead, ECDAN

Session Description

Chris Argyris and Don Schön distinguished between ‘espoused values’ and ‘values in use’. Traditionally evaluations are based on, often pre-determined, ‘espoused values’. However, recent influential innovations in systems evaluations such as Developmental Evaluation, Blue Marble Evaluation, Footprint Evaluation and Culturally Responsive Evaluation have started to focus more on revealing and exploring the values that underpin interventions and what that means for the evaluation criteria. Critical Systems Heuristics provide a methodology to explore both kinds of values and the criteria they underpin. It also helps evaluators deliberate on the important boundaries decisions that are made within interventions, as well as the boundaries (e.g. criteria, purpose, focus and framing) chosen by evaluators when evaluating those interventions.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will develop a better understanding of the following:

  • How Critical Systems Heuristics can help reveal the values that underpin important boundary decisions made by interventions and their evaluations
  • How Critical Systems Heuristics can help deliberate on these values and their relationship to developing evaluation criteria
  • How Critical Systems Heuristics can help evaluators reflect on the values that underpin their own evaluation practice.

Session Homework:
Please review the following resource before the session:

  1. Critical Systems Heuristics – An Introduction

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Speaker Bios

Bob Williams, Systems Thinking Evaluator and Consultant

Bob Williams has been working at the nexus of evaluation and systemic practice for over 30 years. He is widely recognised for his work for promoting systems approaches and concepts in the evaluation field. He has conducted several workshops, trainings, and consultations on systems thinking, program evaluation, performance measurement, organisational development and program logic across the globe. Bob has published several articles and is the author of six books on bringing together the fields of systems practice and evaluation. He is the recipient of the American Evaluation Association’s Paul F Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award for his contributions to the field.

Sharon Goldfeld, Director of the Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital

Professor Sharon Goldfeld is a paediatrician, public health researcher and policy advisor focussing on child development and health equity. She is Director of the Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital, and Theme Director for Population Health at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. With a decade of experience in state government as a senior public servant in health and education, and an outstanding track record, Sharon has successfully straddled research and policy. Her expertise is highly sought after with appointments to government Expert Advisory Groups in health, education and social services departments including her recent appointment to the National Early Years Strategy Advisory Group.

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Have any questions or ideas for the series, contact [email protected].

For more resources on systems thinking, please visit the Systems Thinking for ECD webpage.