T-Practice Workshop: Assessing when Change is Transformative

Speakers: Fern Wickson, Julia Leventon

Transformative change is currently receiving much attention from science, practice and science-policy interfaces. The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change 6th assessment (released 2022) refers to the need for societal transformation to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and ensure climate resilient development. Further, the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is currently performing a Transformative Change Assessment, an appraisal and comparison of different visions, theories, scenarios, and pathways for transformations towards a sustainable future. Such assessments aim to deliver relevant messages drawn from the basis of existing evidence to various types of decision-makers. They should therefore produce actionable, readable outcomes that are useful to multiple beneficiaries. Part of the challenge to creating policy and society relevant, actionable messages lies in being able to show what actions create transformative change; leading to the question of how we define, measure and monitor transformative change towards which visions, particularly as distinct from ongoing patterns of destruction of nature.

In this session, we will facilitate a process of experience and idea sharing on the topic of assessing transformative change. We want to draw together ideas while exploring a range of questions relating to monitoring, evaluating and assessing transformative change, such as:

  • What types of assessment approaches are available and useful for evaluating transformative changes in process?
  • What do assessment approaches that provide clear and usable actions for policy makers and practitioners entail/require?
  • How can assessment and evaluation approaches balance a policy need for specific forms of evidence with the qualitative, longer-term impacts and uncertainties of transformative change processes?
  • How could assessment approaches avoid forcing binary classifications of transformative vs not transformative change?
  • What would evaluation approaches that encourage continued reflection, learning and improvement amongst practitioners and policy makers look like?
  • How can the assessment and evaluation of transformative change be made feasible for practitioners and policy makers in practice?

Please join us with your ideas, experiences and reflections!