Transforming Evaluation Practice to Support Social Innovation

"Developmental evaluation offers social innovators an approach to collecting strategically focused information in real time, on questions that matter, in contexts where programs or initiatives are not well-tested, and where the outcomes cannot always be pre-planned or predicted. As the need for relevant, credible, and useful information continues to increase, it is more imperative than ever, that evaluations a) contribute to understanding the complexities of an innovation, b) are adaptive and responsive to new and evolving questions and learnings, and c) that they reflect the changes, challenges, and opportunities that emerge as the innovation unfolds. In our paper, we describe our research results on the uses, conditions, tensions, and benefits of engaging in developmental evaluation, and challenge the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to explore how common evaluation approaches and practices constrain innovation, and how we must re-envision the role, purpose, and processes of evaluation so that it fits social innovation."


Preskill H (2012) Eval12 Session 471: Transforming Evaluation Practice to Support Social Innovation, Presentation at American Evaluation Association Conference 2012. Retrieved from