Social Innovation

CES Toronto 2013 Presentation: Insights on Using Developmental Evaluation for Innovating: A Case Study on the Co-Creation of an Innovative Program

I’m delighted to be speaking on this topic tomorrow at the CES Toronto 2013 conference, Tuesday, June 11, from 10:15-11:45AM, Main Mezzanine,  Confederation 6.

Title:  Insights on Using Developmental Evaluation for Innovating: A Case Study on the Co-Creation of an Innovative Program


Developmental evaluation (DE) supports social innovation and program development by guiding program adaptation to emergent and dynamic social realities (Patton, 2011; Preskill & Beer, 2012). This presentation examines a case study of the preformative development of an innovative educational program. It contributes to research on DE by examining the capacity and contribution of DE for innovating. This case provides evidence supporting the utility of DE in developing innovative programs, but challenges our current understanding of DE on two fronts: 1) the necessary move from data-based to data-informed decision-making within a context of innovating, and 2) the use of DE for program co-creation as an outcome to the demands of social innovation. Analysis reveals the pervasiveness of uncertainty throughout development and how the rendering of evaluative data helps to propel development forward. DE enabled a nonlinear, co-evolutionary development process centering on six foci of development-definition, delineation, collaboration, prototyping, illumination, and evaluation-that characterize the innovation process.


By Chi Yan Lam

Dr. Chi Yan Lam is a Credentialed Evaluator and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of evaluation at the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University; he is also a full-time evaluator practicing in public service. He specializes in evaluating large-scale, complex programs and incorporates multi-, mixed- and design methods in his evaluations to answer questions of importance to program administrators and policy makers working on educational and social programs. His articles on evaluation have been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the American Journal of Evaluation and the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation. He has been a holder of the professional designation in evaluation since 2014.

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