Developmental Evaluation supports innovation development to guide adaptation to emergent and dynamic realities in complex environments. Innovations can take the form of new projects, programs, products, organizational changes, policy reforms, and system interventions. A complex system is characterized by a large number of interacting and interdependent elements in which there is no central control. Patterns of change emerge from rapid, real time interactions that generate learning, evolution, and development – if one is paying attention and knows how to observe and capture the important and emergent patterns. Complex environments for social interventions and innovations are those in which what to do to solve problems is uncertain and key stakeholders are in conflict about how to proceed.

For more information about Developmental Evaluation, check out Michael's Book - Developmental Evaluation. Applying Complexity Concepts to Enhance Innovation and Use - where he describes how to conduct evaluations using the DE framework.  

Additional resources are available at the Better Evaluation website.