February 12 (the second Monday of the month) is the 118th meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario. The registration is at https://evaluation-mindset.eventbrite.ca for a link to Zoom.

What Can Systems Thinkers Learn From an Evaluation Mindset?

Systems thinkers often seek to affect systems through their ideas and actions, but how do we know we’ve made a difference? How might we measure what matters in ways that respect the various dynamics at play in often complicated and complex systems? What do we need to consider when looking to understand the implications of what we do?

In this session, we’ll host Cameron Norman and Tara Campbell in conversation to learn about how they approach evaluation: a transdisciplinary approach to understanding the implications of what we make and do. The pair will discuss their experiences applying an evaluation mindset to their work and beyond. They’ll also discuss how this mindset shapes approaches to the design and measurement of systems change, where the unmeasurable matters.

Together, we’ll explore what we can learn from the field of evaluation and how an evaluative mindset can enhance how we understand how systems function and what it means to affect change in systems. We’ll connect systems thinking, design, and evaluation and ask questions about what it means to change systems and how we might know if we made a difference through our efforts. 


Cameron Norman’s work combines the practice of design with the science of evaluation using a systems lens. He applied this approach as an academic, entrepreneur, consultant, and executive leader for more than 25 years in his work on social, community, and health innovation at the University of Toronto, OCAD University, Cense Ltd, and recently with Blueprint, a non-profit organization focused on developing evidence for social impact. 

Tara Campbell (she/her) is a designer specializing in collaborative processes for societal transition. In her current role at the David Suzuki Foundation she is working alongside a national network of organizations, alliances, and individuals to accelerate the transition to an economy that prioritizes human and planetary wellbeing. She is also a design fellow at the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience where she studies and prototypes applied systemic design collaborations. She has a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University where she cultivated her practice of design thinking, systems thinking, and strategy development.


Suggested pre-reading: 


Post-meeting artifacts

Bloggers are encouraged to write about their learning and experiences at the meeting. Links will be added to this page.