Efforts to tackle enduring issues – such as domestic abuse, climate change, an ageing society, and knife crime – using the concepts of complexity and systems have gained increasing traction in recent years. This work, systems change, focuses on taking a wider approach to improving outcomes for individuals and communities than lone, narrowly targeted interventions. As this approach has become more prominent, a parallel discussion has developed about how best to evaluate systems change.
Here we lay out a range of approaches to evaluating systems change based on our own experience plus review of the growing range of guides and literature. There are also some signposts towards practical tools, guidance, and sources for further information.