Leadership & Evaluation for Transformational Change

with Michael Quinn Patton & Mark Cabaj 

Communities across Australia are faced with complex intractable challenges. Shared issues of inequality, food security, agricultural transformation, equity and climate justice, and the connections between local and global changes require systemic transformation.

The ways we have been attempting transformation of systems and measuring progress has been determined by old methods that no longer serve us. A disruption is required.

CFIs is committed to building a movement of people who can think and work systemically – core to this is understanding the nature of transformation, what is required of leadership and how we understand progress.

Co-designed and delivered by leading experts in systems change and evaluation Michael Quinn Patton, Mark Cabaj, joined by Liz Skelton, and guest panellist Mark Yettica-Paulson, this 4 x 3-hour workshop series throughout February will explore a set of propositions for transformational leadership and evaluation. Drawing on learnings from the global north and Australian context where CFI is working with communities, government, and funders to create conditions for new ways of working.

This workshop series is a call to action – As participants embark on a new year, we aim to inspire and build the confidence and agency to think and act differently to shift the conditions for transformational change.

This workshop has been based and developed from an original  2021 workshop run by the Tamarack Institute in Canada.

Throughout the workshop series participants will:

  • Explore how traditional approaches to project and program evaluation can create barriers to transformative change.
  • Explore and deepen understanding of transformational leadership and evaluation
  • Challenge traditional thinking about leadership, and project and program evaluation to address transformational systems changes across sectors on a global and local scale.
  • Develop a ‘thought-kit’ to build readiness and transform the role of leadership and evaluation
  • Understand the mindset shifts required to transform the practice of leadership and evaluation. 
  • Consider what transformational practise looks like in your context and how to create conditions for change

Who is it for?

We will learn together with a diverse range of leaders and practitioners from diverse sectors, this workshop series is for:

  • Anyone leading, funding, sponsoring, investing, evaluating or participating in systemic, place-based multisite initiatives or trying to create conditions to address the root causes of complex challenges
  • Federal, State & Local Government Departments investing in Systems Change, Collective Impact and place-based approaches
  • Not for profits leading, participating or evaluating place-based, systems change work
  • Peak bodies
  • Philanthropy investing in systemic change
  • Evaluation organisations, departments, consultants

How will it be held?

Mark Cabaj will share a number of propositions over the series, supported by contributions from a panel of experts. Michael Quin-Patton will share his global experience as a thought leader bringing an international perspective and experience to evaluation for transformational change.  Liz Skelton will bring an adaptive leadership lens from CFI’s work across Australia with Mark Yettica Paulson bringing Deep Collaboration perspectives to consider transformation from a cross-cultural lens.

Participants will work in learning cohorts to share experiences and apply them to their own contexts, learning from the experiences and perspectives of other participants from around Australia.

You will have the opportunity to contribute your insights and learnings to this collaboration which will be shared and worked with throughout the event and made available to the broader field post the program.


4 x 3-hour workshop series & self-directed learning

9am – 12pm AEDT

1. Tues, 8 Feb 9am-12pm

2. Thurs, 10 Feb 14 9am-12pm

3. Tues, 22 Feb 9am-12pm

4. Thurs, 24 Feb 9am-12pm

Accessibility and technology

The workshop series will be hosted on Zoom.

We encourage all participants to use their video throughout. Internet access is required to participate.

We recommend participants use a desktop/ laptop whilst participating (rather than a mobile phone).

Participants will also be given access to CFIs Learning Management Systems where workshop materials and resources will be made available.


Price per person (+ GST):

Standard $ 900
Not-for-profit $ 810
Group discount (bookings of 3+) $ 720

A 10% discount is available when you purchase 3 or more events (as one purchase) in CFI’s Systems Change Learning Program 2021-22. Get in touch for package offers, large group discounts and tailored sessions for your organisation.

For queries, contact learning@collaborationforimpact.com

Michael Quinn Patton

Michael Quinn Patton is an independent organizational development and evaluation consultant. He is former president of the American Evaluation Association, and the author of five evaluation books including fourth editions of Utilization-Focused Evaluation (2008) and Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods (2015). These books have been used in over 500 universities worldwide.

He is also author of Creative Evaluation (1987), Practical Evaluation (1982) and Culture and Evaluation (1985). He has co-authored a book on the dynamics of social innovation with two Canadians drawing on complexity theory and systems thinking: Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed (Random House, 2006). That led to his book, Developmental Evaluation: Applying Complexity Concepts to Enhance Innovation and Use (Guilford Press, 2011). He also authored Essentials of Utilization-Focused Evaluation (2012). His latest books are Developmental Evaluation Exemplars: Principles in Practice (2016) and Principles-Focused Evaluation (2016).

After receiving his doctorate in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, he spent 18 years on the faculty of the University of Minnesota (1973-1991), including five years as director of the Minnesota Center for Social Research and 10 years with the Minnesota Extension Service. He received the university's Morse Amoco Award for outstanding teaching. He also served as a faculty member with the Union Institute & University for 16 years.

Michael has worked with organizations and programs at the international, national, state and local levels, and with philanthropic, not-for-profit, private sector and government programs. He uses a variety of evaluation and research methods, with special focus on mixed-methods designs and analysis.

Learn more about Michael: https://www.utilization-focusedevaluation.org/our-team

Mark Cabaj

Mark is President of the consulting company From Here to There and an Associate of Tamarack - An Institute for Community Engagement. Mark has first-hand knowledge of using evaluation as a policy maker, philanthropist, and activist, and has played a big role in promoting the merging practice of developmental evaluation in Canada.

While studying the Solidarity movement in Krakow, Poland, in mid-1989, Mark experienced a variety of tumultuous events that signalled the end of communism in Eastern Europe. He stayed to experience the rebirth of the region and worked as an Investment Advisor in Poland's Foreign Investment Agency, the Foreign Assistance Coordinator for Grants in the new Ministry of Privatization, and the Mission Coordinator for the creation of the United Nations Development Program's first regional economic development initiative in Eastern Europe.

Upon return to Canada, he was an Executive Director of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network, part of the founding team of the Tamarack Institute, Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Canada.

He now runs Here to There Consulting, a consultancy that specializes in strategy, learning and evaluation for efforts to tackle complex challenges.

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Our calendar for the 2021-2022 Learning Program is evolving so keep checking for more details.