The intent of this document is to introduce the concept of developmental evaluation to potential users and to provide some tools to support its use.
The work to explore developmental evaluation was part of the SSI Initiative,3 a two year collaboration (2005–2006) between The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, DuPont Canada, and the PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship. Its purpose was to examine the capacity of social innovation to address intractable social problems in Canada. The three organizations saw developmental evaluation as a means to track the methods and procedures involved in social innovation, processes that are often difficult to evaluate. The practice of developmental evaluation was further refined in a series of developmental workshops.4 Examples from the experiences of the workshop participants can be found throughout this text.
While this primer includes examples of developmental evaluation being applied in innovative projects, it is an embryonic discipline and new ideas about it are still emerging.