Amplifying Learning in Systems Change Investments: An Experience in Developmental Evaluation

This issues brief from the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning (OMG) describes the experience of using a developmental evaluation approach in order to evaluate the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Community Partnerships portfolio. The brief provides a range of practical lessons describing what was learned during the evaluation and in particular answers two questions: when should you use developmental evaluation?; and, how can groups engage successfully in the developmental evaluation process. 


  • When is Developmental Evaluation a Good Approach?
  • How Can Communities, Evaluators, and Funders Engage Effectively in a Developmental Evaluation?
  • Emphasize learning, rather than measuring the achievement of specific outcomes
  • Recognize the dual purpose of a Theory of Change: To guide implementation and learning
  • Putting Lessons into Practice
  • Create opportunities to reflect and strategize with stakeholders
  • Rethink the purpose of deliverables — use them to generate reflection and refinement



OMG Center for Collaborative Learning (OMG), (2014). Amplifying learning in systems change investments: An experience in developmental evaluation. Retrieved from website: