RE: Do you have examples on reviewing Theories of Change? | Eval Forward

My two cents.

When a "theory of change" (as illustrated in the manual) looks like this - with arrows going in the same direction,  and with a linear outline (IF... THEN),  it is just a logframe in disguise.


A proper "theory of change", fit for complex setups, will have arrows going in many diverse directions, interlinking ideas in ways that are hard to disentangle.

It is messier, harder to navigate, but... ehy! This is what reality most often looks like.  (this is the "obesity map", in case you wonder)


There is a WORLD OF DIFFERENCE amongst the two.

You cannot really approach them in the same way and with the same thinking.

This should be the starting point of any analysis!

Once you understand if you are dealing with a linear or complex theory of change, then you need to remember

  • In some cases linear thinking has a reason to be.
  • when addressing social change, most often not.


I feel that it is quite unfortunate that the "theory of change" idea - born to appreciate complexity, ended up just being a different way to picture logframe thinking.

At least we should be able to distinguish what is a logframe on steroids and what is appreciating complexity, and move on from there.