Dione Hills gives keynote on the occasion of a joint anniversary
In Norway this year, the government evaluation network celebrated its 25th anniversary, and the Norwegian Evaluation Association celebrated its 10 year anniversary. The two organisations combined forces to organise a conference in Drammen (near Oslo) to reflect on what they have learned so far, and to look at the new challenges that lie ahead.
Dione Hills (Principal Researcher / Consultant at the Tavistock Institute) was invited to give a keynote speech on the topic of Evaluation in challenging and complex settings, introducing ideas drawn from the Tavistock Institute’s partnership work with Cecan (Centre for Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus).
Dione began her speech by noting that ‘action research’ has always been influential in the evaluation activities both in Norway, as it has at the Tavistock Institute – a connection which can perhaps be traced back to action research projects undertaken jointly between the Institute and companies in Norway in the 1950 and 60s. Taking an ‘action learning’ approach to evaluation is particularly helpful for helping policymakers adapt their interventions to changing and ‘emergent’ circumstances in complex settings.
Later in the day, Dione joined a panel with Kim Forss, Alison Pollard and Ida Lindkvist discussing long term perspectives in evaluation, the subject of their forthcoming book on this topic. Dione spoke to the theme of how a complexity framework can help situate an intervention, and its evaluation, in a wider context which includes both the earlier history on which it builds and the potential sustainability going forward.
The conference organisers later reported that Dione’s name had come up in large letters on a word cloud that they created using interactive software to ask what people had enjoyed so far in the conference. People said they found the presentations stimulating and easy to follow which was quite something since Norwegian was the language in which most of the other conference events were presented!