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LINC at the AEA Conference: A Recap!

Thanks to the American Evaluation Association for figuring out how to get the DC evaluator community to spend time learning from one another – send us all to Minneapolis!

This year LINC presented a poster on our SPACES work, specifically, the application of a systems lens in three separate complex health environments: Uganda, Zambia, and South Africa. The cases presented showed alternative systems analysis approaches, showcased the application of systems approaches and tools for program design and evaluation, such as Causal Loop Diagramming (CLD) and Social Network Analysis (SNA), and demonstrated the power of key informant interviews as a diagnostic tool for systematic insight.

LINC also sat on a MEL for Innovation panel, along with Results for Development and Omidyar Network, to discuss our joint presentation “Evaluation and Adaptive Learning to Support Innovation in International Development”. LINC presented the case about our work in Bangladesh through the “Rice and Diversified Crops (RDC)” activity, from which we gathered four practical lessons:

  1. Integrate network data collection with routine monitoring activities and forms
  2. Train extensively
  3. Demonstrate value early
  4. Provide a roadmap and templates.

During the Friday session, LINC provided a tech demo on how to present Network Analysis findings (hint: don’t build your own platform) and provided three Network Analysis maps as examples: a SNA workforce analysis in Nicaragua, SNA to analyze impact investment ecosystems, and a nutrition research collaboration in Zambia.

Finally, on Saturday we hosted a roundtable discussion on how to evaluate research practice partnerships (RPPs). We’ve posted our presentations online here.

We enjoyed the opportunity to learn from others including ANSER, our partner on our Local Systems Practice activity, Root Change, Search for Common Ground, WDI, and several groups within USAID including our colleagues over at Local Works, the Global Development Lab, and LEARN. We look forward to seeing you all again next year in Portland!

Final note: this year AEA was extra-special for LINC as it was in founder Patrick Sommerville’s hometown of Minneapolis. He even convinced his mom to come sit in on one of his sessions!