In a recently published paper entitled Evaluation in Canada in 2025: what could be, what should be, and what to do now (prepared initially for the Australasian Evaluation Society conference of September 2015) found in the Evaluative Voices series of the Northern Institute (NI), Charles Darwin University (CDU), Benoît Gauthier (CE; Honorary Fellow, NI/CDU; Past-President, CES; Treasurer, IOCE) accepted the AES challenge to forecast the state of evaluation in 2025. Gauthier readily admits that projecting ten years ahead is difficult if not foolish but he offers a methodology to do so: first, he describes the state of evaluation affairs in Canada in 2004 based on an article he co-authored at the time, and he presents his perception of the 2015 situation. Next, he projects in a more or less linear fashion to 2025. He then offers a view of what ought to be in 2025, which is more of a wish than a prediction, and he analyses what, in his opinion, should be done to reach across the boundaries between the projected situation in 2025 and the ideal world.
In his analysis, leaving current trends to carry on might well lead to a catastrophic situation for evaluation in 2025. Therefore, he advocates for a series of actions to be taken at the levels of individual evaluators, of evaluation practice, of evaluation users, of evaluation associations, and in the international arena to counter the current trends and to build a better future for evaluation. More specifically, he argues that:
- The individual evaluator should take responsibility for their own development.
- We need researchers on evaluation to identify best practices in evaluation knowledge transfer.
- To reach a wide audience, evaluation findings will have to be promoted actively, and adapted to the individuals and groups that the findings are intended to influence.
- We need to push a strong professionalization agenda which includes proper credentialing of evaluators.
- International evaluation associations must aim to improve the exchange of information but also to shield national evaluation systems from international actors who have agendas that may serve their own interests more than those of evaluation practice.