Our “Mindset” and Worldview as we Evaluate Behaviour Change

Show me the Change
Complexity and the Art of Evaluation – Reporting Sheet

Topic: Our “Mindset” and Worldview as we Evaluate Behaviour Change

Leader: Geoff Brown

Participants: Murray Miller, Ross Egleton, Chris Corrigan, Jan Smith, Jon Keudau, Maria Eliadis, Fran Westmore, Maude Lecourt, Brian Hardy, Diane Nichols, Kathryn McCallum, Sarah Bartlett, Sue Xavis, Andrew Rixon, Debbie Coffey, Stephen Kelly, Felicity Thomas, Lisa Keedle, Jonathan Dacy, Tanya Loos, Martin Hausenblas

Key Points:

•    Willingness to be a learner as opposed to an expert – a key mindset needed across the field
•    Sam Ham’s work – as project leaders we do things in the way “we think” it should work
– A Healthy Assumption we should take is this: “we can learn from our participants”
•    Mindset – we still assume a causal link between providing people with information/experience and the behaviour change we want to see
•    Should we even be focussing on the “set of behaviours” we want to change? Instead should we be focussing on other things like political processes, infrastructural change, social networks/relationships?
•    The notion change “hurts” – how can we support people through this?
–    Re: Biodiversity – help people to notice the things around them (respect the things around them)
–    Maybe our role is to help people simply notice the things around them rather than trying hard to change them?
•    As an evaluator it can be a trap to also be the Architect of the Program because the design is therefore “my baby” – too much attachment and bias
•    Relationships are critical between people in our projects – we often assume that the relationship b/w us (ie, our project) and the participant is the most important one to enable change, maybe we should do more to support the relationships and conversations between participants (“we do what we do under the influence of others)
•    Is evaluation part of the project? Look for opportunities for participants to get involved in evaluation activities – participatory evaluation techniques like Most Significant Change (MSC)
•    Having different “Roles” and different expertise in the design and evaluation of a project is critical
•    A Mindset of “Flexibility” is critical – that is our targets and goals may have to change as a project unfolds – this conversation with the funder can build trust and relationships
•    We need to be able to work and link up what happens @ a Distance (strategic level) @Close-Range: The Actions
•    Giving people (participants and partners) a sense of ownership is critical also
•    Story of Change: Narrative Posters (Andrew Rixon – see www.babelfishgroup.com.au)
1.    “You have all the resources you require” – 1st Challenge and the Mindset needed
2.    “We are doing the best we can”
3.    “Being flexible and hanging loose”
Dilemma raised is the discussion: “WE ARE UP AGAINST IT AND IT’S URGENT!! We don’t have time for all of this!”
–    Refer to the Book: “Time Paradox” Phil Zimbardo – our perception of time can bring about much anxiety
•    Maybe the anxiety around “time pressures” stops us being effective and actually slows us down

Healthiest Time Perspective – refer to TED video (http://ca.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/philip_zimbardo_prescribes_a_healthy_take_on_time.html)
1. Past Positive: appreciation of the past is critical
•    Mindset that our participants have the resources
•    Inquiry Mindset = Listening & Respect the Community – spending time learning the “trigger points”
•    The “Reality” of our participants is important to understand
•    Identify your “behaviour change” journey? – Understand it in ourselves first … walk the talk
•    We need to be living the change we are bringing about to others
•    Being comfortable in saying “I don’t know” is difficult for experts – we need to break this Tyranny!
•    Mindset – Can I even expect to change anybody in my work?


1. Dave Snowden’s (Cognitive Edge) work on Complexity helps us to gain a healthy mindset when working with behaviour change projects – refer to this video by Shawn Callhan at Anecdote (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mqNcs8mp74)

2. The ‘failures’ of the Castlemaine 500 Project inspired this topic and their is a chapter on the ‘mindset’ needed at the back of the report – http://www.cvga.net.au/main/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=15&&Itemid=72

| May 12th, 2010 | Posted in Open Space Session |

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