Professional Learning

How Andrew Ate an Elephant: Discover the Art of Systems Thinking with Andrew Hawkins - a journey you can’t unsee (Online 19 July 2024)

How Andrew Ate an Elephant: Discover the Art of Systems Thinking with Andrew Hawkins - a journey you can’t unsee (Online 19 July 2024)

Systems SIG 1


Date and time: Friday 19 July, 2024 12.00pm - 1.00pm AEST
Topic: How Andrew Ate an Elephant: Discover the Art of Systems Thinking with Andrew Hawkins, a journey you can’t unsee
Presenter(s): Andrew Hawkins, ARTD Partner and Chief Evaluator
Presenter Organisation(s) Systems SIG
Venue: Via Zoom. Details will be emailed to registrants just prior to the start time.

Register online by: 15 July, 2024 12.30pm

Event Description:

Join us on an engaging journey into the world of systems thinking with Andrew Hawkins. This session promises a blend of emotions and revelations, showcasing how Andrew tackled seemingly insurmountable challenges, one bite at a time, using innovative systems thinking.

Experience the ups and downs of his quest for solutions and witness the transformative power of his insights. This captivating story will inspire you to approach your own challenges with a renewed perspective and determination, or maybe just stand outside and yell at the world.

According to Andrew, “Once you start seeing in systems, it’s all systems!” Join him as he delves into the concept that any situation with interrelated parts and relationships is a system. Andrew believes that systems of power give rise to problems, while service systems designed to address these problems can often become siloed and disconnected. By adopting a systems thinking approach, we can achieve clarity and high-quality evaluations that truly help decision-makers. Andrew’s insights into systems change will challenge you to rethink your approach to complex social policies and problems… or not.

Systems change has been described as 'counter-structural' and 'counter-cultural' – to which it might be added that evaluation may be counter-intuitive. Mental models for evaluation need to adjust to what can be learned about the value of interventions into complex systems - or how to evaluate like you are eating an elephant. Evaluation often focuses on measuring outcomes directly attributable to an intervention, providing the best opportunity for accountability and learning. Yet, evaluating systems change requires a different approach. Initiatives may be difficult to define, data may be fragmented, and constructing counterfactuals may be impractical.

Andrew will also share insights on the art and science of systems evaluation, emphasizing the importance of defining the system, understanding its parameters, and asking the right questions. He will discuss how evaluators can hold fundees accountable, measure direct and indirect outcomes, and refine value propositions to champion reasoned decision-making in complex systems. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to see the world through Andrew Hawkins’ eyes and discover the power of systems thinking.

Presenter Details

Andrew Hawkins, ARTD Partner and Chief Evaluator, has a rich history of working on complex systems change initiatives. With projects like The National Youth Employment Body, Thriving Kids Queensland Partnership, and Restacking the Odds for the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

This seminar will be recorded and available on the AES Youtube channel approximately four weeks after the date. We suggest you subscribe to the AES YouTube channel to be notified when new recordings are added. 

This is a special event organised by the Systems Special Interest Group. AES free events provide an opportunity for you to meet with AES members and others in the evaluation community and to share and learn from the experiences of fellow evaluators. 

Seminar start times

VIC, NSW, ACT, TAS, QLD: 12.00pm

SA, NT: 11.30am

WA: 10.00am

New Zealand: 2.00pm

For other time zones please go to

Please ensure you have access to your email address just prior to the start time to access Zoom details. Please also check your email address is correct on your registration form before submitting. Thanks.

Event Information

Event Date 19 Jul 2024 12:00pm
Event End Date 19 Jul 2024 1:00pm
Cut Off Date 18 Jul 2024 4:30pm
Location Zoom
Categories Special Interest Group (SIG)

We are no longer accepting registration for this event

Search site
© 2023 Australian Evaluation Society Limited 
ABN 13 886 280 969 ACN 606 044 624
Address: 425 Smith St VIC 3065, Australia

We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this nation. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands in which we conduct our business. We pay our respects to ancestors and Elders, past and present. We are committed to honouring Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and seas and their rich contribution to society.