Transforming Knowledge into Change

Evaluating Social Innovation

In this paper, the authors explore ways that common evaluation approaches and practices constrain innovation and offer lessons about an emerging evaluation approach—developmental evaluation—which supports the adaptation that is so crucial to innovation. For what kinds of grantmaking strategies should funders consider using developmental evaluation? What organizational conditions are necessary for it to work? How can grantmakers grapple with the challenging questions that developmental evaluation raises about innovation, accountability, rigor, and adaptation? Drawing on the reflections and insights of foundation staff and evaluators who have experimented with developmental evaluation, they call on philanthropy to re-envision the role, purpose, and processes of evaluation so that social innovations have a better chance of success.


Bibliographic Details
Author Hallie Preskill and Tanya Beer
Publisher Center for Evaluation Innovation
Publication Date August 1, 2012
Publication City Washington DC
Publication Work
Resource Type
Resource Focus
Submitted to Point K August 8, 2012 - 2:08pm

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