Measuring systemic change in market systems development - a stock taking

Monitoring & Evaluation Support for Collaborative Learning & Adapting (MESCLA) Activity

Published by
Dexis Consulting Group

This report provides an overview of common perspectives, frameworks, methods and tools used in approaching and measuring systemic change in MSD activities. 

The research revealed that there is no single, comprehensive conceptual perspective on systemic change, but rather four primary perspectives which influence activity and ME&L system design. 

The first two perspectives are systemic change through innovation diffusion, measured by assessment of the extent to which an innovation is diffused across a system; and systemic change through structural change, measured through assessment of the extent to which system structures are changed.

These two perspectives underpin most MSD systemic change frameworks, and significantly shape activity and intervention design and what is measured to assess systemic change. Systemic change through innovation diffusion appears to be the most common perspective driving MSD activity, intervention and ME&L system design.

The third and fourth perspectives are systemic change as a change in state, measured through defining a pre- and post-activity / intervention state, and then assessing the extent to which the gap was closed; and systemic change as a change in trajectory, measured through assessing the extent to which a change in the system has changed how a system has ‘evolved’ without pre-determining what that evolved system looks like or behaves. 

Background to the report
Supported by Monitoring & Evaluation Support for Collaborative Learning and Adapting (MESCLA), the USAID/Honduras and ACDI/VOCA Activity Management teams identified a learning need – how other actors working in facilitating market systems development were implementing ME&L to monitor and evaluate market systems change. In particular, the teams were interested in learning from, and building relationships with, actors outside of USAID programming to expand their learning networks. In partnership with Marcus Jenal, TMS, USAID/Honduras and MESCLA began a 6-month learning journey - reviewing the literature, interviewing donors, implementers, and ME&L specialists.