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The newly formed Evaluation Centre for Complex Health Interventions at St. Michael's Hospital is pleased to organize a three hour workshop on accountability and learning for complex problems using evaluation on October 21st, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.


Key Questions

The workshop will address current evaluation questions including:

  • What are progressive evaluation models by which learning and accountability can be balanced?

  • Why do complex community and policy interventions continuously get trapped in inefficient capability traps?  What are some constructive ways forward?

Michael Woolcock, a Lead Social Development Specialist with the World Bank's Development Research Group, and Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, will pose a provocative question for planners, policy makers and evaluators: What is wrong with the core architecture we use for solving problems in the world? Woolcock argues that we are largely using 20th Century architecture to resolve 21st Century problems, often resulting in a type of gridlock wherein little changes, probems intensify, yet money continues to flow. Our current architecture rewards “experts” who seem to have the solution and encourages blindly replicating “best practices” from one problem to another without an understanding of context, a cycle that ultimately perpetuates gridlock and ineffectiveness.

Woolcock’s talk will challenge this endemic problem and explore the role of evaluation in moving beyond it, with an emphasis on the role of progressive evaluation approaches in finding incremental, locally legitimate solutions. He will illustrate his argument using examples from international development, touching upon common themes and issues that will resonate with planners working on community and policy problems at all levels. In addition to success stories, he will identify problems where single “solutions” inherently remain elusive (such as legal and governance reform). Woolcock will lead a discussion around how these problems fit into this new system and the role of evaluation in helping with learning and accountability. 

The presentation will be followed by responses by Canadian leaders in the policy and practice communities, including Diane Dyson from WoodGreen Community Services, Fred Carden from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Jim Lavery from the University of Toronto. The workshop will be moderated by Sanjeev Sridharan from the Evaluation Centre for Complex Health Interventions.

The event will be highly interactive with ample opportunity for dialogue about experiences with as well as a forum for questions about accountability and evaluative learning. The workshop will provide a space to discuss the ways in which evaluative thinking and evaluation approaches can help address a range of policy issues and community problems.

Although all are welcome, this workshop is especially designed for those who work in a policy or community setting.



Enrolling for the Workshop

The workshop is free but there are a restricted number of spaces available so you are encouraged to respond quickly. Please contact Jennica Nichols at NicholsJ@smh.ca to make a reservation. Feel free to call Sanjeev Sridharan at 416-864-6060 x 77447 with any questions about the workshop.



The workshop will be held in Father Madden Hall, which is located within Carr Hall of St. Michael’s College at 100 Joseph Street, Toronto Ontario M5S 2C4. Please see the map below.