This paper will be presented at the ServDes 2020 Conference.
Evaluating benefits for society is a common requirement for most social innovation programmes, yet evaluating social impact is one of the most challenging tasks. This challenge has salience for service design and designing social innovation – both fields that seek to make social impact. This paper shares insights from researching social innovation practices in Southeast Asia. We draw attention to intelligent ways practitioners in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand are evaluating work with social outcomes, and from this, we generate a propositional framework that supports the core principles observed. We place this framework alongside dominant and traditional models of evaluation to highlight epistemic, political and power differences between them, and reinforce the importance of diversifying evaluative approaches. We demonstrate how alternative evaluative practices are community and culturally-led through specific examples, to reinforce the core principles of building trust, participatory collaboration and being grounded in place, culture and locality.