adaptive management

Why do we need more real-time evaluation?

Patricia Rogers's picture 15th April 2021 by Patricia Rogers

We’re currently going through a global period of rapid change and adaption, due in large part to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our lives and work. As our world is changing, many individuals and organisations are finding that traditional evaluation methods are not meeting the needs of rapidly changing implementation or brand new interventions where interventions are being designed as they are implemented. It’s in this context that it’s become important to use evidence and support learning in real-time.

Real-time evaluation (Working paper #4)

Real-time evaluation (RTE) has been practised and documented over the past 20 years, initially in humanitarian projects. There is now increasing interest in learning from this experience to inform evaluations in other areas, especially in development. This paper outlines the different ways in which RTE has been defined and is understood to work. It analyses how RTE is similar to and different from other approaches to supporting evidence-informed action. It discusses when it is appropriate to use RTE and what is needed to make it work well.

The work reported on in this paper has benefitted from a technical cooperation grant provided by Evaluation Department, Norwegian Agency for Development (Norad) to Better Evaluation.  This work is a product of the staff of Better Evaluation with external contribution from Evaluation Department, Norad.  The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this work do not necessarily reflect the views of Norad.

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Adaptive management

Adaptive management

The term 'adaptive management' refers to adaptation that goes beyond the usual adaptation involved in good management - modifying plans in response to changes in circumstances or understanding, and using information to inform these decisions.

Adaptive management refers to an approach to managing under conditions of ongoing uncertainty which represents a paradigm shift from classic, linear approaches to planning, implementation and evaluation. 

The Hidden Life of Theories of Change

One common criticism of Theory of Change is that it is often used as a framework that fixes agreements rather than as a living, guiding tool that helps reflection and adaptation. However, formally agreed Theories of Change and realities on the ground can be very different. This policy brief explores this, and looks at the interactions between formally agreed Theories of Change and actual advocacy practice, within the context of a multi-country advocacy programme.

What is adaptive management and how does it work? (Working Paper #2)

This is the second paper in the BetterEvaluation Working Paper Series, Monitoring and Evaluation for Adaptive Management. It explores the history, various definitions and forms of adaptive management, including Doing Development Differently (DDD), Thinking Working Politically (TWP), Problem-Driven Iterative Adaption (PDIA), and Collaboration, Learning and Adaption (CLA). It also explores what is needed for adaptive management to work.

An Overview of Monitoring and Evaluation for Adaptive Management (Working Paper #1)

This paper is the first in the BetterEvaluation Monitoring and Evaluation for Adaptive Management working paper series. While focused especially on international development, this paper is relevant to wider areas of public good activity, especially in a time of global pandemic, uncertainty and an increasing need for adaptive management.