Theme 5_1_

Systems Expert
Jonathan Morell, Owner, 4.669… Evaluation and Planning

ECD Expert
Aisha Yousafzai, Professor of Child Development and Health, Harvard University

Shekufeh Zonji, Global Technical Lead, ECDAN

Session Description

Complexity has consequences for how we reason about prediction, explanation, and causality. With a complexity lens, we gain knowledge about program activity and outcome that we could not otherwise obtain. Such knowledge is important because the programs we evaluate, and the outcomes they produce, comprise complex systems that exhibit complex behaviors. Evaluation must recognize these realities. To convey these concepts the workshop will begin with an overview of elements in Complexity Science that are particularly appropriate for evaluation, and for the evaluation of transformation in particular. We will then move to tools to define appropriate context-specific definitions of transformation, and models for depicting transformation. Embedded in tool use will be knowledge of behaviors of complex systems, decisions about when and when not to invoke complexity, choosing appropriate methods for evaluating transformation, and appreciation of what we can and cannot know about change in the complex system that constitutes transformation.

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

  • The scope of Complexity Science and its relevance for evaluating systems and transformation.
  • When and how to incorporate complex behaviors in their planning and evaluation practice, and when to recognize, but not evaluate, with respect to complexity.
  • Methods for evaluating complex systems that are familiar and well understood in the evaluation community.

Watch the Session in English

Watch the Session in Spanish

Speaker Bios

Jonathan Morell, Owner, 4.669… Evaluation and Planning

Jonathan A. Morell (Jonny) is an organizational psychologist with extensive experience in the theory and practice of program evaluation. His current research and evaluation focus is on how knowledge from Complexity Science can be applied to models, methods, and metrics, as those constructs are used in the field of evaluation. Jonny has been recognized by the American Evaluation Association, who awarded him their Paul F. Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award. He is Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the journal Evaluation and Program Planning, and owner of 4.669… Evaluation and Planning. Jonny holds a PhD in Social Psychology from Northwestern University.

Aisha Yousafzai, Professor of Child Development and Health, Harvard University

Aisha Yousafzai is a specialist in child development health. Her research focuses on developing new interventions and approaches to promote early child development, focusing on how to strengthen child and caregiving related outcomes through existing health, nutrition, and education systems. Her research also seeks to understand the implementation structures and processes for early childhood interventions for sustainable impact at scale. In addition, her research seeks to promote capacity development in local communities, services, and systems for delivery of interventions to promote effective and high-quality early childhood development

Explore Other Sessions

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.