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Article: Transformational Change



By The Independent Evaluation Unit, Green Climate Fund

The IEU has published the first in what will be a long series of working papers examining cutting-edge climate change and evaluation issues: IEU Working Paper #001 Transformational Change – the Challenge of a Brave New World is authored by the Head of the IEU, Dr. Jyotsna Puri (Jo). The paper examines the challenges in defining a broadly suitable and acceptable definition of what constitutes transformational change.

Most multilateral development agencies aim for change that is ‘transformational’ or that shifts the ‘paradigm’. In many ways transformation has become the holy grail in development assistance, with most development and environmental aid agencies aspiring to deliver transformational change. Despite this, definitions for what constitute transformational change remain elusive. Consequently, there is nearly a complete absence of evidence on whether transformational change has been achieved. What is transformational change? Can we define it? Can we measure it? If a transformational change occurred, would we know it?

This paper looks at several instances where attempts have been made to define and measure transformational change. It then discusses potential ways to measure this change. The paper claims technologies and methods are now available that could help us better understand what transformational change may encompass. However, understanding and developing strategies related to transformational change will require concerted thinking on this topic, a devolution of measurement capacities and a wider recognition of technologies and techniques as well as cross-systems thinking.

Read the full working paper here.

By Greg Clough, Communications and Uptake Consultant