Evaluation in complex ecologies: 26th Annual Conference of the American Evaluation Association

22 - 27 October 2012

Evaluation takes place in complex global and local ecologies where we evaluators play important roles in building better organizations and communities and in creating opportunities for a better world. Ecology is about how systems work, engage, intersect, transform, and interrelate. Complex ecologies are comprised of relationships, responsibilities, and relevance within our study of programs, policies, projects, and other areas in which we carry out evaluations.

ODI's Simon Hearn presented at a session on 'Outcome Mapping: Embedding Complexity Theory in Evaluation Practice

Chair: Ricardo Wilson-Grau
Discussant: Rhonda Schlangen
Abstract: The Outcome Mapping (OM) methodology is most commonly used at project or programme planning stages, but recent years has seen a marked increase in the use of OM tools and concepts in evaluation. This session will present two examples applying OM for evaluative purposes, demonstrating how the methodology can be used to put complexity theory, as well the principles of developmental evaluation, into practice in evaluations, and will show just what it is about OM that makes it so attractive to evaluators at this time. A panel of practitioners will present and debate the usefulness and appropriateness of OM for evaluation, through the presentation of the two examples and through facilitated discussion. Questions and answers amongst the panel members, as well as the audience, will further the thinking and practice around OM for evaluation. 


1) Principles and Practices of Outcome Mapping, Simon Hearn
2) Embracing Complexity in Evaluating Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Programming: Outcome Mapping in the Retrospective, Laura Haylock (co-authored with Kaia Ambrose)
3) The Value of Outcome Harvesting in Evaluating Global Advocacy, Barbara Klugman (co-authored with Ricardo Wilson-Grau)

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA