How is reflexive monitoring different?

Ways in which reflexive monitoring differs from ‘traditional' monitoring include the following:

  • The normative point of departure of reflexive monitoring is guided by the ambitions for system innovation in the programme or project together with the underlying theory - on this point, see also ‘About transitions'
  • It is a continuous process of reflection and action (learning-by-doing) and a powerful tool for project or programme management
  • It is attuned to the (long term) ambitions and the system approach, and identifies weak and early signals for change
  • it incorporates external landscape developments, looking for barriers and drivers that may impact the outcome in term of long term systems innovation
  • reflexive monitoring is a participatory process, actively involving stakeholders, programme managers, financers and so forth
  • the participants engage in critical reflection on drivers and barriers - be they institutional obstacles, ‘mental models' or deeper convictions and cultural values - to generate creative ideas to overcome barriers and to benefit from drivers
  • reflexive monitoring not only raises questions about the actual performance of activities, but also about the objectives, target groups and strategies of the programme or project. By doing so it helps strengthening coherence throughout transition programmes.