The Five Facets of Theory of Change

The Five Facets of Theory of Change

Richard Allen, Principal Researcher and Consultant at the Tavistock Institute, presents research into the ‘five facets of Theory of Change’.

For a while, the Tavistock Institute has been at the forefront of developing Theory of Change for the planning, implementation and evaluation of change programmes in complex settings. Examples include: working with the Food Standards Agency in transforming its approach to regulation; supporting Macmillan Cancer Care in developing personalised and self-managed care for people living with cancer: and collaborating with Money Advice Service in strengthening the UK population’s financial capability.

All of this work goes beyond the technical focus of change to embrace the systems, behaviours and ways of thinking that can facilitate, or inhibit, the emergence of change. To help us in this work we are developing a five-faceted approach to Theory of Change that emerges in part from developments in International Development as well as our own work.

Richard Allen introduced this approach at a lunchtime talk in March 2018, inviting discussion, comments and thoughts. Theory of Change is a permanent feature of the programme management and evaluation landscape but how should it be developing? What is its value and can it, or does it, deal with complexity?

Recording of the talk

The talk was led by Richard Allen, who was a Principal Researcher and Consultant at the Tavistock. Since joining in 2015 Richard has been working on the use of Theory of Change in complexity in partnership colleagues at the Tavistock Institute. This has included work with the Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN). Prior to that, he was researching Theory of Change use in third sector organizations, especially in international development. Richard has worked for more than thirty years in the ‘not for profit sector in a variety of roles associated with programme management and organizational performance.

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