Category Archives: Living systems research

Collective Leadership – Exploring new territories for evaluation

I spent time this summer writing about evaluation.  It’s been good to immerse myself in reading and thinking about what complexity and collaboration mean for how we evaluate public programmes and interventions. The focus has been Workforce Scotland’s Collective Leadership … Continue reading

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Where nothing is clear, and everything keeps changing – new territories for evaluation

Greetings from the Faroe Islands.  In my efforts to develop new perspectives on evaluation I’m attending a conference on Communication, Collaboration and Relationships.  This is my annual dose of CPD – like many people from the UK, this is new … Continue reading

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“The cynicism that passes for sophistication”

I’m not sure when or how I first encountered Appreciative Inquiry.  But I do remember going to an Imagine Chicago conference in 2002 with a group of community activists from Edinburgh.  We had a thoroughly exciting time, meeting appreciative inquirers … Continue reading

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Reigniting Evaluation – Unfolding Stories

Today about 24 people gathered in Edinburgh to explore what they value about evaluation, as part of the 2018 Fire Starter Festival. Working with our own stories of experience of evaluation at it’s best, we identified what values and qualities … Continue reading

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Calling time on ancedotal evidence….

I notice my irritation rising whenever someone refers to ‘anecdotal evidence’. As if people are saying the evidence is merely anecdotal. It’s unreliable and based on hearsay. It doesn’t count for much. And so often, such remarks are made in … Continue reading

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Caring conversations in action

Taking time to hear the stories that matter to matter pays off in the long run…it’s just the way we do things round here.   Asking for feedback can feel a bit embarrassing but we find the courage because it’s good … Continue reading

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Research as if people were human

I’m delighted to be a guest blogger for IRISS this week.  This post talks about how stories energise and restore people’s connections with each other and what they care about, so motivating people to work together.  Action research – a truly humane approach to … Continue reading

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Appreciative dialogue – co-production in action

Here’s a new article on appreciative dialogue by Belinda Dewar and Cathy Sharp. We discuss the role of appreciative dialogue in facilitation of practice development and action research. There’s not much guidance about the ‘how’ of facilitation – here we highlight one … Continue reading

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Stories – how to use them to bring work to life

Changing places with stories is a new resource developed by Space Unlimited with Research for Real to help groups of people to work with stories to support learning and inspire action to improve our places. Experience shows that story-telling can … Continue reading

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Improvisation and the art of change

At a Total Place event today we were reminded “the revolution will be improvised”. A catchy meme for sure which reminded me of an article I’ve read some time ago by Frank J Barrett.   He makes the point that there are lots … Continue reading

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