Whaia te iti kahurangi
Ki te tuohu koe
me he maunga teitei
WHO AM I ?
I was born and brought up in the lush Devonshire countryside, but left England in the late 1980's to live here in Aotearoa New Zealand. For the past couple of decades, I've lived in an odd and wonderful house surrounded by native bush overlooking Wellington's ever changing harbour, Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
WHAT DO I DO ?
I divide my working time between evaluation, strategy development, facilitating large-group processes and systemic organisational change projects. Most of my work seeks to create and sustain the links between these different activities.
Most of my time these days is dedicated to providing training and consultancy support in the use of systems concepts in evaluation. This includes workshops, evaluation design, and one-on-one mentoring and advice. Contact me for more details about what I can do for you and your work. There's a special page on this website that contains a bunch of stuff on systems including how to obtain my various books and videos.
For other resources, visit my Resources Pages, where you can download a wide range of tricks, tools, writings, workshops and other stuff I've developed over the years in the evaluation, social research, group dynamics, organisational development, knowledge management and facilitation fields. Feel free to try them out.
I'm a fairly well known figure in the evaluation field, through my evaluations, my work with evaluation societies and my contributions to various Internet discussion groups. Internationally I'm probably best known for promoting systems approaches and concepts in the evaluation field. Four books have come out of this effort (see the section on Systems Resources). For this work I received the American Evaluation Association's Paul F Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award, presented to ‘an individual whose written work on evaluation theory has led to fruitful debates on the assumptions, goals, and practices of evaluation' A huge honour.
... and this is the view from where I do most of my work. The tree on the bottom left with the iridescent flowers is the glorious Pohutukawa. Known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree, mature trees are completely covered with the flowers in December and January. The entire neighbourhoods turn red for those wonderful weeks.
I'm committed to my work as a learning process and to methods that enhance organisational learning and development. I run workshops on systems thinking, program evaluation, performance measurement, organisational development and program logic in Aotearoa New Zealand, Europe, Asia, Africa as well as North and South America.
My methods of working tend to be participative; train as well as inform; and combine elements of evaluation, organisational learning, action research and strategy development. I've an active (and published) interest in the use and abuse of performance measures as evaluation tools.
I've a particular interest in "large group" processes (eg Search), and have worked on "large group" whole systems organisational change processes in the UK, the USA, Singapore, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. Indeed workshops and group based techniques are a particular feature of my work, and I frequently design and facilitate workshops on a wide variety of issues.
My latest book is Using Systems Concepts in Evaluation Design, available in English and Spanish. But also check out the new edition of my previous book Wicked Solutions : A Systems Approach to Complex Problems, written with a Dutch colleague, Sjon van ‘t Hoff. Check out also my earlier book, Systems Concepts in Action : A Practitoner’s Toolkit, written with Richard Hummelbrunner. More details on my Systems page.
I have had working relationships with SPEC Associates, the Southern Cross Institute for Action Research (SCIAR), and the Collaborative Institute for Research, Consulting and Learning in Evaluation (CIRCLE).
I review books and articles for variety of management, systems and evaluation journals but you will find most of my writing in discussion groups like Evaltalk, Pelican and others. I've also been published in the "Public Sector" the New Zealand Public Service Association's journal. I contributed a chapter on "Reflection" in "Effective Change Management Using Action Research and Action Learning" published by Southern Cross University Press. I've a chapter on how to get evaluation results used in Evaluating Policy and Practice: A New Zealand Reader [Pearson Education 2003]. I also wrote the entries on "systems", "systems thinking", "quality" and "planning" for the Encyclopaedia of Evaluation [Sage 2004] and on systemic inquiry for the Encyclopaedia of Qualitative Resarch Methods [Sage 2008]. There's also a chapter, "Evaluation for practice improvement and organizational learning", with Patricia Rogers in the "Handbook of Evaluation" [Sage 2006].
I edited "Systems Concepts in Evaluation" with the late Iraj Imam for the American Evaluation Association supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For more details on this groundbreaking volume visit my Systems page where you can find out how to purchase copies.
With Meenakshi Sankar I edited the publication South Asia for UNICEF South Asia Regional Office, and am on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Evaluation and New Directions in Evaluation.
My professional development workshops focus largely on the application of systems concepts in evaluation and have been presented in various forms at numerous evaluation conferences, and a range of other places in the Africa, Europe, North and South America and Asia.
..... AND ALSO
I'm a NZSIA Level Two instructor in both snowboarding and adaptive disciplines. I have a particular interest in snowsports for those with physical and intellectual disabilities. For several years ran the adaptive program at Turoa skifield during the winter months.
I'll never turn down a fine meal, a good beer, a decent film, or an engaging argument. My music collection is far too big; everything from Jamie XX to Janacek, from Lima to Lansing. Especially here in Aotearoa, which produces a truly unique blend of European, American and Pacific sounds, be it hip hop, country, traditional, rock, chill-out, or classical.
I absolutely love traveling, which is probably a good thing because I am in an aircraft heading somewhere across the Pacific every couple of months. I get a buzz whenever I'm at an airport, simply because it means I'm about to meet new people in new settings, listen to their stories, tell them my stories and work with them on new things.
Basically I enjoy life enormously, and love to see others doing the same.
"The problem with the world is everyone is a few drinks behind"