Replicability + Accountability + Learning = Formula for Change

Michael Quinn PattonAnyone involved in social change understands the back and forth between the desire for things to be simple and linear, and the reality that life on this planet is far too complex for that.

Perhaps no one has studied that ongoing back-and-forth more than evaluation guru Michael Quinn Patton – the subject of one of the most listened-to of our interviews with social change thought leaders.

We confess that we hesitated to share this interview in the “While You Commute” column of our e-newsletter, because there is so much good stuff in here, we worried you might never get to work as you stopped every few minutes to jot down your thoughts (or worse, that you wouldn’t stop – please, no jotting and driving!)

If you are looking for a checklist of “things to do to create impact,” this will not be the interview for you.

But if you are seeking deep thinking – and Michael has been thinking about this stuff for over 4 decades and described it in 5 books – you will want to listen to this one twice.

Michael urges us to think beyond checklists of things to do, to instead reach for what is possible in broad terms, and to then embrace complexity, staying open to learning. He suggests (and we very much agree) that replicating what successful projects do cannot hold a candle to the power of learning how successful change agents think.

Whether you are interested in the science and the art of evaluation, or you are curious how other consultants walk the talk of their values by holding themselves accountable for something more than getting the next gig – we hope this interview gets your own creative juices flowing.

But please, if you listen while driving, stop along the road if you’re going to take notes!

Listen to the Audio Interview:

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