Enhancing the Reflexivity of System Innovation Projects With System Analyses

B.C. van Mierlo, M.C.M. Arkesteijn, C. Leeuwis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Networks aiming for fundamental changes bring together a variety of actors who are part and parcel of a problematic context. These system innovation projects need to be accompanied by a monitoring and evaluation approach that supports and maintains reflexivity to be able to deal with uncertainties and conflicts while challenging current practices and related institutions. This article reports on experiences with reflexive process monitoring (RPM)-an approach that has been applied in several networks in the Dutch agricultural sector, which strive for sustainable development. Particular attention is paid to conducting system analyses-a core element of the methodology. The first results show that system analyses indeed have the potential to enhance reflexivity if carried out collectively. However, regular patterns of thinking and acting within projects interfere in subtle ways with the new knowledge generated and limit the transformation of the reflexive feedback and insights into action
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-161
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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