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Thursday, September 20 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
Evaluative thinking and strategic learning - nice words, do they make any difference?

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Zazie Tolmer (Clear Horizon), Mila Waise (Department of Health and human Services)

The presenters are involved in delivering the Children and Youth Area Partnerships (CYAP) a Victorian government-led Collective Impact initiative delivered through place-based area partnerships in eight sites across Victoria. The Area Partnership members are intentionally diverse and together a) identify systemic and local factors that contribute to the vulnerability of children, young people and their families, b) design and test new ways of thinking and prototypes to overcome these and c) seek to influence uptake of successful prototypes by government, business, philanthropy, community and others. Ultimately, the initiative aims to work out how government can lead collaborative place-based approaches that result in real and sustainable positive change for those experiencing vulnerability.

A key component of the approach is to embed evaluative thinking and strategic learning.  We are finding that in order for the learning and local innovative practices to drive system change, a strong authorising environment and collaborative governance is needed. There needs to be a strong collective forum where learning can be further tested and innovative practice can be implemented. There needs to be a culture where partners feel 'safe to fail' and learn while continuously refining their work. There needs to be an environment where accountability is well balanced with learning and power is shared. Only this has the potential to lead to true transformation at the local and system levels and within each component/actor in the system.

The following questions will be explored in the presentation:1. What does evaluative thinking and strategic learning mean and look like in a government-led Collective impact initiative? What are the tensions and 'easy fits'?2. What difference has it made to our work? What are the implications on our resources, the intensity of the work, the impacts and ripples?3. Yeah but, so what? Has any of this actually sparked the transformation we are after? Procedure: The presentation will be delivered by three presenters, which will include perspectives and expertise from:• one Principal Advisor that is a place-based practitioner that leads the initiative within an area level, who is also the local backbone and  drives the change process locally• a representative from the central government unit that provides whole-of-initiative backbone support  and leads  transformation  within government; and • an evaluator who has been engaged to provide practice advise and embed a learning culture across the initiative. 

The panellists will each deliver a presentation of about 10 minutes each where their different perspectives will be explored.  The presentations will be followed by a 15 minutes question time from the audience where answers will be provided to generate a short discussion on themes that the audience will be most interested in.  It is anticipated that time will permit for about three to five questions that will be followed by answers from the most relevant panelists and brief commentary from the audience.

avatar for Claire Grealy

Claire Grealy

Partner, Urbis
Motivated to influence - better experiences, better systems and better places, for everyone. Evaluation + is how I think about it - always with an eye to translating the learning into knowledge and change for the better. Passionate about working with our partners to influence change... Read More →

avatar for Meg Beilken

Meg Beilken

Principal Advisor, Department of Education and Training
Meg Beilken is a Principal Adviser within State Government with 10 years’ experience in policy design and implementation across early childhood, schools, youth services and the out-of-home-care system. Currently, Meg is leading a cross-sectoral, collective impact initiative aiming... Read More →
avatar for Hayley Rose

Hayley Rose

Principal Advisor, Department of Education and Training
Underlying theme in career has been working with children, youth and families to increase their safety and protection. A passionate advocate for vulnerable and marginalised members of the community being able to access services and supports that will assist in meeting their optimum... Read More →

Zazie Tolmer

Principal Consultant, Clear Horizon
Anything! I'm curious and friendly! I'm currently working as an embedded evaluator at DHHS working on a Government-led Collective impact initiative to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and their families.
avatar for Mila Waise

Mila Waise

Senior Policy Adviser, Department of Health and Human Services
I have a background in community development and public policy. Prior to joining the public sector, I have worked in various roles in the not-for-profit sector to support young people and families in areas of settlement, education, training and employment, mental health and family... Read More →

Thursday September 20, 2018 11:00am - 12:00pm AEST
Chancellor 4