Developmental Evaluation, a term coined by Michael Quinn Patton and others, refers to a form of evaluation most useful for “wicked” problems found in complex systems. According to A Developmental Evaluation Primer (Jamie A.A. Gamble), developmental evaluation is useful during the process of innovation, when “the destination is often a notion rather than a crisp image, and the path forward may be unclear.” Developmental evaluation allows organizations or individuals in early stages of innovation to track and understand what they are doing, identify emergent outcomes, and then redevelop or iterate on their ideas. This process continues indefinitely (if the system never reaches equilibrium), or until the innovation is far enough along that developmental evaluation methods are no longer required. Curious? Please read A Developmental Evaluation Primer by Jamie A.A. Gamble for a more in-depth explanation.
To see Developmental Evaluation in action, check out the following project in My Portfolio: