Renewal and Confluence: Navigating the Future of Evaluation

This year's theme invites us to reflect on how evaluation can adapt and evolve in a changing world while embracing diverse perspectives and approaches. 

We will examine how evaluation can renew itself by learning from the past, innovating in the present, and anticipating the future. We will also consider how evaluation can foster confluence, or the coming together of ideas, disciplines, and people, to create new possibilities and solutions. 

To unpack both renewal and confluence as it relates to evaluation, sub-themes and guiding questions have been developed. CES commitments to Truth and Reconciliation; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and Ecological Sustainability are foundational across the theme and sub-themes.

Sub-theme 1: Evaluation and Renewal

As we look toward launching our CES Strategic Plan in 2024, we are challenged to consider the concept of renewal within evaluation. 

Guiding questions: What has the past taught us with respect to our evaluation practice? How might we ensure that our learnings improve the effectiveness, relevance and cultural responsiveness of our practice? How can we best position ourselves to build trust and accountability in a dynamic environment? 

Competency domains: reflective, situational and interpersonal practice

Sub-theme 2: Confluence: The Junction of Rivers

Evaluation can be immersed in and influenced by other disciplines or approaches as well as ever-changing technology. As evaluators, we work within a nuanced space and often face conflicting paradigms. Our work can bridge diverse perspectives, promote change and bring together ideas, resulting in innovating new ways of working. 

Guiding questions: How can our field honour and include multiple worldviews and ways of knowing? How can we use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technology in our evaluation practice in a responsible manner? How can different forms of media be harnessed to increase the utilization of evaluative information? What is the role of change management in evaluation? 

Competency domains: technical, management, situational practice

Sub-theme 3: Navigating Choppy Waters

Through evaluation, conflict can be transformed into learning opportunities, and ethics can serve as a compass. 

Guiding questions: How do we consider and promote the well-being of human and natural systems in evaluation practice? What are examples of ethical dilemmas faced in your evaluation practice? How can our profession promote a culture of respect, collaboration and learning together? 

Competency domains: situational, reflective, interpersonal practice