Alt. versions

Three different types of versions of ParEvo have been conceived, and some of them actually implemented

  1. Face to Face ParEvo – suitable to classrooms and workshops. Described in detail on this webpage
  2. Scaled Up ParEvo – enabling a much larger group of people to be involved
  3. Gamified ParEvo – providing participants with feedback on their relative performance
  4. Articulating a Theory of Change – changing the parameters of a ParEvo to make this possible

2. Scaled Up ParEvo

  1. .Observers/Audiences: The basic online version of ParEvo does not involve any kind of audience. There is just a a Facilitator and the invited participants. But in 2021 Eva Otero used ParEvo to evaluate a UN volunteer sending programme. 12 participants described the (imagined) experiences of new volunteers, over eight iterations. The completed storylines were then shared with a large audience of actual UN volunteers, who were asked a number of questions via an online survey, including how realistic the different storylines were, in the light of their own experiences.
  2. Commentators: These are people invited to comment on the contributions made in each iteration, before progress onto the next iteration. They are usually small in number and have some relevant subject knowledge.
    1. Commentators can also channel/filter responses by a wide population of people i.e. the audience
    2. The Facilitator can be the person making comments after each iteration, and their responses can be informed by a larger team of Observers, as was the case with an exercise in May 2022
  3. Teams as participants: Individual participants each represent the views of different teams of people. Members of each team interact with each other during each iteration (after reading the most recent contributions by other teams and when planning their own new contribution). There is evidence that this kind of modularity can improve “collective intelligence” types performance. See Navajas, J., Niella, T., Garbulsky, G., Bahrami, B., & Sigman, M. (2018). Aggregated knowledge from a small number of debates outperforms the wisdom of large crowds. Nature Human Behaviour, 2(2), 126–132 “Remarkably, combining as few as four [team] consensus choices outperformed the wisdom of thousands of individuals
  4. First Come First Served: In this version the number of approved participants will be much larger than the number allowed to actually contribute in each iteration. In each iteration contributions will be accepted on a first come first accepted basis, until a predefined maximum allowable number of contributions is received.
  5. Double Darwinian: In the basic version of ParEvo participants are only allowed to extend storylines that were added to in the previous iteration, not those that were ignored. In this version there is an additional rule. Participants whose contributions were not built on by others in the previous iteration drop out of the pool of active participants, and are placed at the bottom of a waiting list. They are replaced by another at the top of a waiting list.
  6. Random sampling: As suggested by Gideon, each iteration involves a random sample of a constant number of participants from a larger pre-defined population of participants. Potential problem: Random sampling from a small population may lead to unequal distribution of opportunities to participate. It may need to be tempered by maximum number of participation opportunities = percentage of the population each person represents
  7. Waiting lists: In every ParEvo exercise there will be some participants who fall ill, or who have to attend to more urgent tasks, at some stage during the exercise. Having a waiting list of reserve participants can help fill these gaps, and prevent a sudden loss of diversity in the storylines. If you do have a waiting list make sure to start by not ticking their contribution status until they are needed. But do tick their observation status, so they can follow the exercise from the beginning or at any point thereafter. This will enable them to be better prepared when they do take someone’s place as an active participant.

3. Gamification

  1. Leader board Version 1: Participants are given scores which represent the total number of all contributions others have added to their contributions, and these scores are made visible to all participants. The scoring system excludes contributions which built on one’s own previous contributions. This option is now available, and can be switched on/off by the facilitator at any stage of a ParEvo exercise. See Figure 1 below.
  2. Leader board Version 2: Participants are given scores which represent the percentage of all the contributions which belong to the surviving storylines (at any point) that were made by themselves. This version is now under development. This reinforced construction of a collective good – the surviving storylines. However, it would be helpful to identify what the maximum possible score would be for any participant. Using Figure 8 seen here, the maximum score could be 55% – if the participant developed a storyline by themselves, then every other participant extended that storyline in the last iteration
Figure 1: Leader board version 1

4. Articulating a Theory of Change

[this section is still under development]


A Theory of Change is a detailed story of how a person organisation seeks to achieve one or more objectives through carrying out various activities. Ideally it will be invaluable i.e. it will be possible to identify if and when all the various activities have been carried out as required and when the objective has been adequately achieved. There is a change are widely used in development aid programs as well as policy initiatives within developed economies.

How ParEvo can be used to develop and or refine a Theory of Change

1. Edit the exercise guidance

If ParEvo is to be used to help people articulate their theory of change, in narrative form in the first instance, then the guidance given to the participants needs to be changed. There are three options which could be considered, each of which may be appropriate in different circumstances:

  1. Participants are asked to write about events which are likely to happen, which could include both desirable and undesirable development.
  2. Participants are asked to write about events which are desirable, which could include both likely and unlikely developments.
  3. Participants are asked to write about events which are both desirable and likely.

2. Plan a four part Theory of Change

Likely Prevent beforehand, mitigate afterwardsCompare and harmonise with pre-existing
Unlikely Monitor any possible changes in their status
e.g becoming more likely
Enable beforehand, exploit afterwards

Most Theories of Change focus their contents on the top right cell: the desirable and likely. A re-orientation is needed, such that attention is given to developing content in all four cells. Not only describing possible outcomes in each cell, but what actions will be taken in each cell

3. Examine each of the four types of storylines

To identify relevant actors and events (activities and outcomes) that need to be addressed in each of the four cells. .

To be continued