Rethinking Evaluator Competencies in an Age of Discontinuity




  • Diverse competencies on our teams are extremely important – great for professional development, as we learn from each other on the job
  • Our response to the manifestation of discontinuities in our work and the competencies required:
    • Change approach mid-project – Developmental Evaluation vs. Implementation and Outcome Evaluation. Understanding different approaches was critical.
    • Change role – Facilitator and Problem-solving partner, sometimes Activist vs. Evaluator and Subcontractor. Process competencies become very important.
    • Change focus – What is the big picture?  What else is happening vs. what is the project trying to achieve? Requires understanding of systems theory + complexity.
    • Get comfortable with uncertainty.  Requires a resilient disposition comfortable with constant change and chaos.
  • Developing evaluation competencies is a systems thing! 
  • What changed with capacity development?
    • VOPE activities moved online – Networking less effective, circles narrowed.
    • Academic programs with some contact time moved fully online – Peer learning and networking diminished.
    • Staff in organizations worked more offsite and more discontinuous – Mentoring and on-the-job training reduced.
    • Building teams tended to be with established relationships – Referrals to “weak ties” reduced.
  • Erosion of the settings for capacity building. This disruption is going to continue for a longer time. Our evaluation systems are going to become more fragile. This has implications for equity and diversity.
  • Implications for training evaluators in 2021 and beyond?
    • Resilience and Adaptability, at individual as well as system level.