Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) Training Course

Date: 6-10 October
Venue: College of Europe, Bruges Campus, Belgium

Dear Colleague,

The College of Europe and Jacobs and Associates Europe invite you to participate in our 5-Day Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) Training Course on the principles, procedures, and methods of RIA. This practical, hands-on, course was given in March, and due to demand, will be offered two more times in 2008 — in June and October. The course, by the most experienced public policy and RIA trainers in Europe, is expressly designed for policy officials and executives who use RIA to improve policy results.

The course will benefit any official using RIA in environmental, social and economic fields as well as stakeholders such as business associations, NGOs and consultants who want to understand better how to use RIA constructively. The course is open for subscription worldwide and is presented in the historic city of Bruges, Belgium. A discount is offered for early registration.

Information on RIA Training Course

2008 DATES: 23-27 June and 6-10 October (each course is 5 full days)
LOCATION: College of Europe, Bruges Campus, Belgium
REGISTRATION : For more information and application form go to www.coleurope.eu/ria2008
COST:

  • €2,995 for early registration (includes housing and meals)
  • €3,495 for regular registration (includes housing and meals)

REGISTRATION DEADLINES:

Early registration for the June course runs until 11 May 2008.
Registration closes 1 June 2008.

Early registration for the October course runs until 10 August 2008.
Registration closes on 14 September 2008.

OPEN : World-wide (only 40 seats available per session)
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION: English
COURSE OFFERED BY: College of Europe and Jacobs and Associates Europe

The College of Europe provides a wide range of professional training courses, workshops and tailor-made seminars on the European Union in general or on targeted issues. For more information, please visit:
www.coleurope.eu/training or contact Mrs. Annelies Deckmyn by email: adeckmyn@coleurop.be

Jacobs and Associates continues to offer its tailored RIA training courses on-site around the world, adapted to the client’s needs. To discuss an on-site RIA course, contact ria@regulatoryreform.com. For information on the full range of regulatory reform work by Jacobs and Associates, see http://www.regulatoryreform.com/.

Best wishes,
Marc
Scott Jacobs
Managing Director, Jacobs and Associates Europe

The Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF 3)

Date: 2-4 September 2008
Venue: Accra, Ghana

The Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF 3) will be hosted in Accra by the Government of Ghana on 2-4 September 2008. The HLF 3 builds on several previous high level international meetings, most notably the 2003 Rome HLF which highlighted the issue of harmonisation and alignment, and the 2005 Paris HLF which culminated with the endorsement of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness by over 100 signatories from partner governments, bilateral and multilateral donor agencies, regional development banks, and international agencies. The primary intention of the HLF 3 is to take stock and review the progress made in implementing the Paris Declaration, also broaden and deepen the dialogue on aid effectiveness by giving ample space and voice to partner countries and newer actors (such as Civil Society Organsations and emerging donors). It is also a forward-looking event which will identify the action needed and bottlenecks to overcome in order to make progress in improving aid effectiveness for 2010 and beyond. The HLF 3 will be organised as a three-tier structure: * The Marketplace, which will provide an opportunity for a wide range of actors to showcase good and innovative practices and lessons from promoting aid effectiveness; * Roundtable meetings, which will provide an opportunity for in-depth discussion on selected key issues to facilitate and support decision taking and policy endorsement on aid effectiveness; and * Ministerial-Level Meeting, which is expected to conclude the HLF 3 with an endorsement of a ministerial statement based on high-level discussions and negotiation around key issues.

Related items:

DFID’s Independent Advisory Committee on Development Impact (IACDI)

8th March 2008 Minutes of the New Independent Advisory Committee on Development Impact (Contactable via ev-dept@dfid.gov.uk. PS: The committee will have its own website and contact email address by mid-2008)

On independence of evaluation at DFID

(excerpt) ….Comments made by committee members in the ensuing discussion were
as follows:

  • There was a case for DFID’s Evaluation Department (EvD) taking on responsibility for oversight, quality assurance and guidance on self-evaluations in DFID. At present this function seemed fragmented and largely left to the judgement of line managers. This would require extra resources for EvD. In any event, self-evaluation in the department needed to be greatly strengthened.
  • Independent evaluation was dependent upon good quality information on the ground, and this also would be helped with a stronger culture of monitoring and self-evaluation throughout the department.
  • The committee needed to appreciate the realities of a government department in considering independence issues though that did not mean that IACDI could not play a very significant role in protecting and enhancing evaluation independence in DFID
  • An increase in DFID budgets meant an increasing need for information on effectiveness. There seemed a contradiction between the need for more, in-depth evaluation and a declining administrative budget for evaluations. In any event protecting independence suggested a need to explore ways to protect the budget for evaluation.
  • There were concerns about the current reporting arrangements for the Head of EvD which do not conform to internationally recognised criteria. A number of options existed including a direct reporting line to the PS or a DG or the creation of a new post of DG for Audit and Evaluation to which the head of EvD would report. Independence could be further buttressed by further developing the relationship between the Head of EvD and IACDI (e.g. with respect to employment, removal and performance assessment of the EvD Head) and displaying this reporting relationship as a ‘dotted line’ on the organization chart.
  • There were also concerns around the status and grade of the Head of EvD, given the need for the need for the post to have greater visibility and carry greater clout.
  • Some felt that, ideally, a head of evaluation should have a contract precluding employment elsewhere in DFID, and that an advantage of upgrading the post was that it could attract good candidates towards the end of their careers for whom this would not be an issue. Any contract of this kind should be for a fixed term, (either of 10 years or more or renewable on the advice of IACDI). Not all however took the view that future employment within DFID should be precluded and all stressed that the rights of the current incumbent should be protected.
  • Whatever option were chosen, it was felt that written job descriptions, protocols and arrangements for performance review, with a role for IACDI or its chair, could also usefully buttress the independence of the Head of EVD.
  • There was a need to explore further the modalities for (and control of the head of EVD over) staffing: over time EVD may need to change the balance towards an increased role for EVD staff and a lesser role for external consultants.
  • There was also a need for clear written protocols for unimpeded access to information in DFID; for rules of engagement with DFID staff in discussing draft reports; for avoiding staff conflicts of interest; and a written policy on disclosure of reports.
  • The need for a clear and agreed departmental policy on evaluation, to meet internationally recognised criteria and be reviewed by IACDI, was highlighted by committee members, recognising that work on this was already underway.

On Country Program Evaluations.

(excerpt) … Views expressed by the committee were as follows:

  • It was recognised that different types of CPEs are required in different contexts (eg.,fragile states, smaller country programmes).
  • CPEs should aim to provide reliable evidence of impact, particularly on poverty reduction. It was pointed out, however, that it would take a much greater effort and better monitoring and baseline data to get at impact.
  • Some questioned the value of CPEs in relation to the amount spent on them. Others recognised that they held country Directors to account and that they were valued by DFID senior management. The annual CPE synthesis by EvD generated useful lessons and identified themes.
  • Concerns were raised about the apparently low priority given to CPEs by DFID country teams. It was important that they recognised the importance of evaluation and that data collection and monitoring arrangements should be built in from the outset of programmes.
  • Over time there would be advantage in country teams being made responsible for most CPEs as a regular component of country policy management so long as there were adequate incentives set by senior management and adequate quality assurance and oversight, probably best provided by EvD. A transitional arrangement might entail an approach which includes part funding of CPEs by country offices.
  • EvD might then consider complementing this self evaluation effort by carrying out more in-depth independent evaluations in a few countries; and continuing to produce annual syntheses of all CPEs carried out in DFID, with the possibility of including the results of similar work carried out other donors.
  • Such changes would probably take time, however, suggesting that at least for the next year, EvD should be prepared to proceed with its currently planned programme of CPEs.
  • DFID should explore amending ToRs and reporting arrangements for CPEs to make it clear that partner governments and in some cases other donors will also benefit from the evaluations.
  • EvD should in any event carry out a methodology review for CPEs.

On the Evaluation Work Programme

(excerpt) … The views of committee members were as follows:

  • They were concerned at the declining administration budget for evaluation at a time when the overall programme spend was rising fast and use of the programme budget for evaluation was constrained.
  • A surprisingly large sum of programme funds was being earmarked for support of impact evaluations including capacity building and international systems. This was questioned by some. Others were supportive of the approach recognising that the work entailed partner governments leading the processes.
  • It was noted that nothing was being done by EvD on project evaluation though the Committee acknowledged that other parts of DFID were continuing to commission and undertake these. In future, it would be of interest to use the flexible funding line to find out what was going on at the project level. It would also be useful to evaluate smaller items with potentially greater impact.

The Social Framework as an alternative to the Logical Framework

  1. A Social Framework
  2. The basic idea
  3. Other differences between the Social and Logical Framework
  4. Potential complications
  5. Relation to Outcome Mapping
  6. Related posts
  7. Postscripts

1. A Social Framework…

  • is a format for describing an expected pathway of influence through a wider network of people, groups or organisations.
  • is a Logical Framework re-designed as if people and their relationships mattered
  • is a way of summarizing the theory-of-change within a development project, in a form that can be monitored and evaluated. And which can be easily explained to others.

The Social Framework uses the idea of pathways as a bridging concept, which can connect up two very different ways of thinking about development projects. One is the Logical Framework, which provides a very linear view of development, where events happen in a sequence of  steps, in one direction. The other is a network view of development, where change can be taking place simultaneously, in many different locations, in the relationships between many different actors.

2. The basic idea

The diagram below shows a number of actors, connected by relationships. It is a simple network diagram, that can be drawn using Excel or social network analysis software. The thick blue line shows a particular pathway through that network that is of interest. What is expected to happen along that pathway can be described in detail using a Social Framework format, which itself is an adaptation of the Logical Framework.

In the table below each of the actors that are on the blue pathway above have been given a row, where the expected changes in that actor’s behavior can be described in detail. The rows of actors are in the same sequence as the chain of actors in the diagram above.

Unlike the Logical Framework, there can be as many rows in the tables as needed, depending on how long the chain of actors is along the pathway. The concept of a chain of relationships has some similarity with the concepts of  Value Chains and Supply Chains

3. Other differences between the Social and Logical Framework

The two frameworks appear very similar in that both describe an intended process of change as a series of events taking place across a sequence of rows. Starting at the bottom and going upwards. But there are important differences…

1. Time versus people

In the Logical Framework this vertical dimension represents the flow of time, starting from the present at the bottom and moving to the future at the top. This flow is broken into different stages, represented by each row. The types of events taking place in each of these rows are given different names, typically: Activities, Outputs, Purpose (or outcome) and Goal (or impact). One of the challenges facing users of the Logical Framework is agreeing on where events should be placed within which categories. For example, as activities or outputs, or as outcomes or impacts. Communicating the difference between these categories to non-specialists is even more of a challenge.

In the Social Framework the vertical dimension represents a chain of actors connected by their relationships. Actors can be individuals, organisations or groups, or larger categories of organisations or groups. This choice depends on the scale of the event that needs to be described by the Social Framework. In the Social Framework, the relationships between actors are the means by which change happens. In the Logical Framework change is often described in more abstract terms.

2. Length and direction of influence

Unlike the four rows in the Logical Framework, this chain can be as long or short as is needed. Unlike the Logical Framework causation is likely to work in both directions, up and down the chain of relationships. Actors influence others, and they are also influenced by those others.

3. Using the traditional four columns

Both the Social and Logical Framework involve the use of four columns: a narrative description of the expected change, observable indicators of those changes (OVIs), sources of information on those indicators (MoVs), and assumptions about those changes’ relationships to wider events. The Social Framework design has deliberately kept, but adapted, these elements of the Logical Framework.

The narrative column describes the expected changes in the actors (and their relationships with each other). In the Logical Framework the narrative description is expected to be written in a depersonalised passive voice. In contrast,  the actor-centred description in the Social Framework will make it much easier to understand and communicate, the “storyline”.

The MoV column does not simply say where the necessary information (about the expected changes) can be found, but also who will know about these changes. Information needs to be known about by someone to be of any use. Information that exists but is not known to anyone is in effect useless.

The assumptions column describes what other relationships will also be important, because their actions (or inaction) may affect what happens to the actor in each row of the Social Framework. It is important to remember that most Social Frameworks will describe a chain of actors forming a pathway through a wider and more complex network of relationships. For example, in the table above the Assumptions section of the row describing the National NGO should say something about what is expected of their relationships with bilateral agencies and INGOs, which they also have relationships with (shown by the orange links in the diagram).

In a Social Framework there is still a connecting logic between the different rows, as there is in the Logical Framework. However, it is a social logic, with this type of form:

If the National NGO is able to provide technical advice on advocacy strategies to the Local CSOs…

And INGOs continue to fund those Local CSOs for at least three years…

Then the Local CSOs will be able to engage more effectively with the National Government

4. Distributed accountability

One of the potential benefits of the Social Framework is that because there are change objectives for each actor in a pathway, responsibility for the whole chain functioning as intended is distributed amongst all the actors in that pathway. In Logical Framework descriptions of projects, responsibility for success often seems to lay almost solely with one organisation, usually that one closest to the intended beneficiaries. For more on this idea, see my blog posting on distributed accountability in the Katine project in Uganda

5. Potential complications

1. Multiple pathways

In a given project setting there may be more than one pathway. In the diagram above it is quite likely that the National NGO is communicating with the INGOs and with some Bilateral Agencies. The INGOs might be interacting with the Companies as well as Local CSOs. Where these parallel strategies are an important part of the overall project design these auxiliary pathways could be documented in supporting Social Frameworks. Their existence could be referred to in the appropriate Assumptions cell of the central Social Framework.

These relationships can also be shown graphically, using what are called ego-network diagrams. In the above example, the UKNGO is the “ego” in the networks and those others they are in direct contact are the “alters“. The diagram then also shows relevant relationships between the alters.  Those alters could then become the ego in another ego-network diagram, showing a wider sub-set of relevant relationships.

2. Multiple views of how someone should change

For any given actor in a chain of relationships there may be different views about how they should change (e.g. they will have their own view, and so will others in immediate relationships with them). How do you reconcile these different views?

If the Social Framework was developed through a participatory process then these differences should be expected to arise during that process and may be resolved. It should be relatively easy to design a Social Framework by participatory means because each stakeholder should be able to see where they fit into the picture, either directly as an actor in the pathway, or indirectly via an Assumptions statement in one or more of the rows.

If the Social Framework was developed to reflect the views of one stakeholder, then their conflicting view of how another actor needs to change may limit their ability to affect change down a given pathway.  Or, on discovering that there is a difference in views, they may then try to persuade the other to change in the way they think is needed, and end up being successful. This might be the case with the Local CSOs relationship with National Government, in the simple diagrammatic view shown above.

3. How do you fit short term, medium term and long term changes in Social Framework?

For a given actor there may be different objectives (expected changes) for different time periods. In the short term they may be to be able to do x, in the medium term they may hope to be to do y and in the long term they may want to be to do z.  Multiple objectives can be listed, in time order, within each actor’s own row. Similarly with the indicators for each of these in the next column.

Changes in the short versus long term can also be captured by describing multiple pathways, some of which are important in the early stages of a project and some which are more important later on, during and after the project ends.

6. Relation to Outcome Mapping

Both the Social Framework and Outcome Mapping are actor-focused approaches. Louise Shaxson and Ben Clench (2011) have written on how they can be combined. Elsewhere, I have written a one-pager looking at the similarities and differences between Outcome Mapping and Network Models (which Social Frameworks relate to).

If people are using Outcome Mapping but also want something like the Logical Framework to summarise the project intentions (and theory of change) then the following interpretations might be useful:

  • In a Social Framework, adjacent actors are each others’ Boundary Partners. Other actors mentioned in the Assumptions column of a given actor might also become their Boundary Partners.
  • Outcome Challenges are the expected changes to be described in the first column, for each actor in the Social Framework
  • Progress markers could be listed in the Indicators column, for the respective Boundary Partner
  • Strategy maps could be described using a network diagram similar to the one used immediately above. Each pathway would need to be highlighted, including their relative importance.

7. Postscript

1. 2011: I have just been re-reading the new DFID “Guidance on using the revised Logical Framework”  On page 9 there is a graphic illustrating an “example of a Results Chain and how it aligns with the logframe format” It interested me because it is a good example of yet another disembodied theory of change, where changes happen but there are no identifiable actors present (except children at Purpose level). This must make the process of monitoring and evaluation more difficult (even in this simple example) and make communication of the project design to others more difficult also.

 

2.  2011 05 18: Recently in the course of other work I came across this OECD DAC definition of impact: “Positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term effects produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended.” Interpreted literally this focus on the long-term could mean that any changes during a project implementation period, commonly three years, would not be considered to be a kind of impact. This could be a bit of a problem in projects aimed at reducing infant or child mortality by improving the quality of health service provision. In the case of maternal and infant health projects, it would be commonly expected that some reductions in the numbers of cases of child and maternal deaths would occur within a project’s lifespan. In fact, the sooner these kinds of changes happened the better.

However, if impact was defined in a different way then kind of this perverse anomaly would not arise. Impact could be defined in terms of social rather than temporal distance, as changes in the lives of people of ultimate concern. In this case, it is mothers and infants, who are at the end of one or more chains of actors, through which aid resources and their effects flow. The Social Framework uses this concept of social distance, whereas the vertical structure of the Logical Framework uses either temporal distance or a conflation of social and temporal distance.

3.  2011 10 28. In February this year Louise Shaxson & Ben Clench, of the Delta Partnership, published a 10 page Working Paper titled “Outcome mapping and social frameworks: tools for designing, delivering and monitoring policy via distributed partnerships” “Partnership working is becoming increasingly important in the policymaking process: no more so than in the UK with the coalition government’s ‘Big Society’ agenda. But the problem is not limited to the UK: the international search for hybrid forms of governance takes on a new urgency as we move towards an era of light touch regulation, small government, and localism. This paper describes two tools which will help policymakers take a rigorous approach to designing, delivering and monitoring policymaking in the face of these complex issues.”

4. 2016 04 16: Since writing the above postings I have had two related ideas. The first is that I have for a long time been ambivalent about what should be described at each level in the Social Framework (as described in the tabular format above) – should it be an actor or a relationship between two actors, or both (i.e. row 1 describes actor A, row 2 describes relationship between actors A & B, row 3 describes actor B, etc). Events described in rows that refer to specific actors (if they are organisations)  are essentially happening in a more micro-level set of relationships i.e. within the organisation concerned)

The other idea relates to how you would map the network structure that contains the pathways and surrounding relationships we are interested in. I now think this could be done using something called a greedy algorithm, whereby the exploration of one actor’s ego network would lead on to the exploration of the ego network of the most important actor in the first ego network, and so on. The most important relationship in each ego network (and thus connecting ego networks) would be the causal pathway we would be interested in. In network analysis terms this would be known as a “maximal spanning tree”. Of course, what constituted “most important actor” would have been to be defined in advance of what would in effect be a participatory network mapping exercise.

5. 2020 12 12: Some interesting more recent related developments

.

Making Smart Policy: Using Impact Evaluation for Policy Making

Date: January 15 and 16, 2008
Venue: Washington, DC, USA

January 15 and 16, 2008, Preston Auditorium, World Bank Headquarters, Washington, DC

The Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) Network, the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), and the Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC) of the World Bank are pleased to announce a conference “Making Smart Policy: Using Impact Evaluation for Policy Making.

The one-and-a-half-day conference will bring together policy makers and staff from development agencies (see Speaker Bios) to explore how to design and use impact evaluation for increased policy impact and how to generate greater demand for impact evaluations.

Presentations

The Role of Impact Evaluations in Assessing Development Effectiveness

The Role of Impact Evaluations in Development Agencies

Evidence and Use: Parallel Sector Sessions

Reporting Back from Sector Sessions

Role of Impact Evaluation in National Policy

Impact Evaluation Initiatives at the World Bank

ParEvo – a web assisted participatory scenario planning process

The purpose of this page

…is to record some ongoing reflections on my experience of running two pre-tests of ParEvo carried out in late 2018 and early 2019.

Participants and others are encouraged to add their own comments, by using the Comment facility at the bottom of this page

Two pre-tests are underway

  • One involves 11 participants developing a scenario involving the establishment of an MSC (Most Significant Change) process in a development programme in Nigeria. These volunteers were found via the MSC email list. They came from 7 countries and 64% were women.
  • The other involves 11 participants developing a Brexit scenario following Britain failing to reach an agreement with the EU by March 2019. These participants were found via the MandE NEWS email list. They came from 9 countries and 46% were women.

For more background (especially if you have not been participating) see this 2008 post on the process design and this 2019 Conference abstract talking about these pre-tests

Reflections so far

Issues arising…

  1. How many participants should there be?
    • In the current pre-tests, I have limited the number to around 10. My concern is that with larger numbers there will be too many story segments (and their storylines) for people to scan and make a single preferred selection. But improved methods of visualising the text contributions may help overcome this limitation. Another option is to allow/encourage individual participants to represent teams of people, e.g. different stakeholder groups. I have not yet tried this out.
  2. Do the same participants need to be involved in each iteration of the process?
    1. My initial concern is that not doing so would make some of the follow up quantitative analysis more difficult, but I am not so concerned about that now, its a manageable problem. On the other hand, it is likely that some people will have to drop out mid-process, and ideally, they could be replaced by others, thus maintaining the diversity of storylines.
  3. How do you select an appropriate topic for a scenario planning exercise?
    1. Ideally, it would be a topic that was of interest to all the participants and one which they felt some confidence in talking about, even if only in terms of imagined futures. One pre-test topic, the use of MSC in Nigeria, was within these bounds. But the other was more debatable: the fate of the UK after no resolution of BREXIT terms by 29th March 2019
  4. How should you solicit responses from participants?
    1. I started by sending a standard email to all the (MSC scenario) participants, but this has been cumbersome and has risks. It is too easy to lose track of who contributed what text, to add to what existing storyline. I am now using two-part single question survey via SurveyMonkey. This enables me to keep a mistake-free record of who contributed what to what, and who has responded and who has not. But this still involves sending multiple communications, including reminders, and I have sometimes confused what I am sending to whom.  A more automated systems is definitely needed.
  5. How should you represent and share participants responses?
    1. This has been done in two forms. One is a tree diagram, showing all storylines, where participants can mouseover nodes to immediately see each text segment. Or they can click on each node to go to a separate web page and see complete storylines. These are both laborious to construct, but hopefully will soon be simplified and automated via some tech support which is now under discussion. PS: I have now resorted to only using the tree diagram with mouseover.
  6. Should all contributions be anonymous?
    1. There are two types of contributions: (a) the storyline segments contributed during each iteration of the process, (b) Comments made on these contributions, that can be enabled on the blog page that hosts each full storyline to date. This second type was an afterthought, whereas the first is central to the process.
    2. The first process of contributing to storylines designed to make authorship anonymous, so people would focus on the contents.  I think this remains a good feature.
    3. The second process of allowing people to comment has pros and cons. The advantage is that it can enrich the discussion process, providing a meta-level to the main discussion which is the storyline development. The risk, however, is that if the comments are not enabled to be anonymous then a careful reader of the comments can sometimes work out who made which storyline contributions. I have tried to make comments anonymous but they still seem to reveal the identity of the person making the comment. This may be resolvable. PS: This option is now not available, while I am only using the tree diagram to show storylines. This may need to be changed.
  7. How many iterations should be completed?
    1. It has been suggested that participants should know this in advance, so that their story segments don’t leap in the future too quickly, or the reverse, progress the story too slowly. With the Brexit scenario pre-test I am inclined to agree. It might help to saying at the beginning that there will be 5 iterations, ending in the year 2025. With the MSC scenario pre-test I am less certain, it seems to be moving on at a pace I would not have predicted
    2. I am now thinking it may also be useful to spell out in advance the number of iterations that will take place. And perhaps even suggest each one will represent a given increment in time, say a month or a year, or…
  8. What limits should there be on the length of the text that participants submit?
    1. I have really wobbled on this issue, ranging from 100-word limits to 50-word limits to no voiced limits at all. Perhaps when people select which storyline to continue the length of the previous contributions will be something they take into account? I would like to hear participants views on this issue. Should there be word limits, and if so, what sort of limit?
  9. What sort of editorial intervention should there be by the facilitator, if any?
    1. I have been tempted, more than once, to ask some participants to reword and revise their contribution. I now limit myself to very basic spelling corrections, checked with the participant, if necessary. I was worried that some participants have a limited grasp of the scenario topic, but now think that just has to be part of the reality, some people have little to go on when anticipating specific the future, and others may have “completely the wrong idea”, according to others. As the facilitator, I now think I need to stand back and let things run.
    2. Another thought I had some time ago is that the facilitator could act as the spokesperson for “the wider context”, including any actors not represented by any of the participant’s contributions so far. At the beginning of a new iteration, they could provide some contextual text that participants are encouraged to bear in mind when designing their next contribution. If so, how / where should this context information be presented?
  10. How long should a complete exercise take?
    1. The current pre-tests are stretching out over a number of weeks. But I think this will be an exception. In a workshop setting where all participants (or teams of) have access to a laptop and internet, it should be possible to move through a quite a few iterations within a couple of hours. In other non-workshop settings perhaps a week will be long enough, if all participants have a stake in the process. Compacting the available time might generate more concentration and focus. The web app now under development should also radically reduce the turnaround time between iterations because manual work done by the facilitator will be automated.
  11. Is my aim to have participants evaluate the completed storylines realistic?
    1. After the last iteration, I plan to ask each participant, probably via an online survey page, to identify: (a) the most desirable storyline, (b) the most likely to happen storyline. But I am not sure if this will work. Will participants be willing to read every storyline from beginning to end? Or will they make judgments on the basis of the last addition to each storyline, which they will be more familiar with? And how much will this bias their judgments (and how could I identify if it does)?
  12. What about the contents??
    1.  One concern I have is the apparent lack of continuity between some of the contributions to a storyline. Is this because the participants are very diverse? Or because I have not stressed the importance of continuity? Or because I can’t see the continuity that others can see?
    2. What else should we look for when evaluating the content as a whole? One consideration might be the types of stakeholders who are represented or referred to, and those which seem to be being ignored
  13. How should performance measures be used?
    1. Elsewhere I have listed a number of ways of measuring and comparing how people contribute and how storylines are developed. Up to now, I have thought of this primarily as a useful research tool, which could be used to analyze storylines after they have been developed.
    2. But after reading a paper on “gamification” of scenario planning it occurred to me that some of these measures could be more usefully promoted at the beginning of a scenario planning exercise, as measures that participants should be aware of and even seek to maximize when deciding how and where to contribute. For example, one measure is the number of extensions that have been added to a participant’s texts by other participants, and the even distribution of those contributions (known as variety and balance).
  14. Stories as predictions
    1. Most writers on scenario planning emphasize that scenarios are not meant to be predictions, but more like possibilities that need to be planned for
    2. But if ParEvo was used in a M&E context, could participants be usefully encouraged to write story segments as predictions, and then be rewarded in some way if they came true? This would probably require an exercise to focus on the relatively near future, say a year or two at the most, with each iteration perhaps only covering a month or so.
  15. Tagging of story segments
    1. It is common practice to use coding / tagging of text contents in other settings. Would it be useful with ParEvo? An ID tag is already essential, to be able to identify and link story segments.
  16. What other issues are arising and need discussion?
    1. Over to you…to comment below
    2. I also plan to have one to one skype conversations with participants, to get your views on the process and products

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Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in Development Organisations Sharing Training and Facilitation Experiences by John De Coninck et al, 2008

Monitoring and evaluation of soil conservation and watershed development project by Jan De Graaff, John Cameron, Samran Sombatpanit, and Christian J.M.G. Pieri, 2007

Creativity and Constraint: Grassroots Monitoring and Evaluation and the International Aid Arena (NGO Management & Policy)by Lucy Earle, 2004

Ten Steps to a Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation System: A Handbook for Development Practitionersby Jody Zall Kusak and Ray C. Rist, 2004

Who Benefits?: The Monitoring and Evaluation of Development Programmes in Central Asia (Occasional Papers) by Charles Buxton, 2004

Global Advances in HIV/AIDS Monitoring and Evaluation (JB PE Single Issue (Program) Evaluation) by Deborah Rugg, Greet Peersman, and Michel Carael, 2004

Toolkits: A Practical Guide to Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Assessment (Save the Children Development Manuals.)by Louisa Gosling , Mike Edwards, 2003

Voices for Change: Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation in China by Ronnie Vernooy, Sun Qiu, and Xu Jianchu, 2003

Practical Guidelines for the Monitoring and Evaluation of Capacity-building: Experiences from Africa Rick James, 2001

The Monitoring and Evaluation of Empowerment: A Resource Document by Peter Oakley and Andrew Clayton, 2000)

Putting Policy into Practice: Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation in Ethiopia by Esther Mebrahtu, 2000

Learning from Change: Issues and Experiences in Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation by Marisol Estrella and et al, 1999

Participatory Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation for Fishing Communities: A Manual (Fao Fisheries Technical Papers, No 364) by Food and Agriculture Org, 1997

Monitoring and Evaluating Social Programs in Developing Countries: A Handbook for Policymakers, Managers, and Researchers by Joseph J. Valadez, and Michael Bamberger, 1994

Monitoring & Evaluation Made Easy – A Handbook for Voluntary Organisations HSMO Books, 1993

National Monitoring and Evaluation: Development Programs in the Third World by Peter Bowden, 1988

The monitoring and evaluation of participation in rural development by Peter Oakley, 1988

Project Monitoring and Evaluation in Agriculture by Dennis J. Casley, 1987


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