Naresh Singh Director-General, Partnerships with Canadians Branch, CIDA. Most development interventions are not only complicated they are also complex. Few are simple, such as digging wells in a community where the wells is all you have to account for. Most humanitarian assistance actions might be complicated but are not complex (they become increasingly complex as we move on the spectrum to long term reconstruction and development.) Building a bridge across a gorge is complicated, not complex; or sending a rocket is complicated not complex but bringing up a child is complex! Complex adaptive systems or CAS include social systems, economic systems, ecological systems. – they are constantly evolving, changing, adapting. Complicated (noncomplex) systems include physical and service delivery systems. Evaluation of change in complicated systems require a narrow range of well defined questions and indicators capable of very precise quantitative measure, typically at output levels; delivered very often through a project with a linear logic model : Development results are measured at outcome levels. The relationship between inputs and activities and outcomes is not tightly coupled as between inputs and activities and outputs in projects. No wonder the limitations of “projects” to achieve development results are increasingly acknowledged, and alternative, approaches utilized such as: program, sector wide approaches, budget support, etc.. Development interventions and expected results seek complex system changes that need to be evaluated as such. 2 Patton 2010 describes the following characteristics of CAS: Nonlinearity: Sensitivity to initial conditions; small actions can stimulate large reactions, thus the butterfly wings (Gleick, 1987) and black swans (Taleb, 2007) metaphors, in which highly improbable, unpredictable, and unexpected events have huge impacts. Emergence: Patterns emerge from self-organization among interacting agents. What emerges is beyond, outside of, and oblivious to any notion of shared intentionality. Each agent or elements of pursues its own path but as paths intersect and the elements interact, patterns or interaction emerge and the whole of the of the interactions becomes greater than the separate parts. Dynamical: Interactions within, between, and among subsystems and parts within systems are volatile, turbulent, cascading rapidly and unpredictably. Adaptive: Interacting elements and agents respond and adapt to each other so that what emerges and evolves is a function of ongoing adaption among both interacting elements and the responsive relationships interaction agents have with their environment. Uncertainty: Under conditions of complexity, processes and outcomes are unpredictable, uncontrollable, and unknowable in advance. Getting to Maybe (Westley et al., 2006) captures the sense that interventions under conditions of complexity take place in a Maybe World. Coevolutionary: As interacting and adaptive agents self-organize, ongoing connections emerge that become coevolutionary as the agents evolve together (coevolve) within and as part of the whole system, over time. 3 While small CSO project interventions and limited service delivery type activities might be well defined and measured on the basis of simple linear logic models, CSO program activities, of collective actions of several CSO’s (projects or programs) is more likely to be better described by a complex adaptive system. This is because we now have multiple actors, and multiple interventions coupled in many ways with large degrees of freedom. Many CSO’s are social innovators trying to bring about major social change by fighting poverty, homelessness, community and family violence, HIV-AIDS, chronic diseases and helping victims of natural disasters and wars. According to Congers (2009) and Patton (2010) social entrepreneurs and innovators have experienced evaluation methods that seem entirely unrelated to the nature of their enterprise. “Identifying clear, specific, and measurable outcomes at the very start of an innovative project, for example, may not only be difficult, but counter-productive”. “Outcomes will emerge as we engage”, say the social innovators. “Not in my world” respond the funders and the evaluators. Our goals have to be established before you engage. And you need an explicit change model, a logic model to show how you will attain your goals. 4 - One of the little understood, but most powerful and disruptive tensions in established aid agencies lies in the clash between the compliance side of programs and the technical program side. The essential balance between these two tensions in development programs – accountability and control versus good development practice – has now been skewed to such a degree in the U.S. aid system (and in the World Bank as well) that the imbalance threatens program integrity. Counter-bureaucracy has become infected with a very bad case of Obsessive Measurement Disorder (OMD), an intellectual dysfunction rooted in the notion, that counting everything in government programs (or private industry and increasingly some foundations) will produce better policy choices and improved management. Central principle of development theory – that those development programs that are most precisely and easily measured are the least transformational, and those programs that are most transformational are the least measurable. (above taken from Nastios, 2010) So what needs to be done differently? - See attachments 1 and 2 from Patton (2010) 5 These principles can be seen clearly at work when one examines a matrix of 3 types of development work and the four qualitatively different types of results CSO’s can achieve in development. The types of development work are: delivery of goods and services Institutional building and capacity development, and Policy dialogue and reform The four different types of results are: additive (tangible outputs where 1+1=2); synergistic ( for example through demonstration effects where 1+1 is greater than two); transformative ( for example through shifts in values, mobilisation, networking, capacity building etc., societies get transformed, where 1+1 is far greater than 2); harm ( when they do more harm than good e.g. eroding governments’ capacity to deliver services by setting up parallel structures). 6 Government of Canada(2007) Evaluation Policy: results, value for money, accountability, compliance, all program spending to be evaluated at least every 5 years, allows risk taking for innovation, but with robust risk management Government-CSO Partnerships instruments: Grants, Contributions, Contracts etc. Tools used for program/ project design : Logic models, RBM, PMF, as well as FRAU, FRET, IMRT, PMRT etc, etc …. CSO concerns: administrative burden, long wait times for decisions, transparency of process, room for innovation Government concerns: value for money, tangible results, predictability and sustainability of outcomes, dependency, sense of entitlement Redesign of Partnerships with Canadians Branch to competitive calls process on-going simplification of applications, decision times, objective selection criteria etc.. And now new approach to monitoring and evaluations …… Based on culture of compliance and accountability: evaluations tended to be narrowly focused, requirement-oriented, and operational in perspective. Timeliness issues-results too late to affect projects. At best influenced accountability and funding decisions. Limited sharing of results with partners or the general public and little learning in spite of best intentions Funded from O and M. Funding from ODA agreed , requires developing country partners are primary beneficiaries and more focused on development results Greater attention to all dimensions of aid effectiveness requires we understand the big picture results, going beyond just project by project results, hence initiative on aggregation Brought together TBS, HRSDC, IDRC , CSO partners, and various CIDA Branches to see how to move forward developmental evaluations based on CAS based theory of change Increased formative (mid term) evaluations, give money and directions to partners themselves with standards from us Theme and sector evaluations e.g water and governance Country evaluations : All of CIDA, All donors, All CSO’s Whole of partner evaluations Experiments with constituency feedback Pilots on based on developmental evaluations principles In spite of best intentions and good TOR’s evaluations for accountability and learning tend to achieve a lot of the former and very little of the latter. Data and mind sets requirements are very different Changes in rules, reporting guidelines, contribution agreements Staff training and partner capacity building workshops Maybe the time has come when design, monitoring and evaluation must speak to each other in a new and different way for innovation and transformation to flourish in international devlopment.