how change happens

ICYMI: This summer’s posts on theories of change, systems thinking and innovation

Duncan Green - October 2, 2015

Still dripfeeding in catch-ups on the most popular posts from June-September, when the blog’s email alert system collapsed and some wasters actually went on holiday. There were some good discussions and lots of traffic on how change happens, which bodes well for future book sales. The most read was actually a 2013 post on Theories of Change, but this one, from Oxfam’s James Whitehead, came a close …

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Is the International Humanitarian System hitting a tipping point on ‘going local’?

Duncan Green - October 1, 2015

Marc Cohen, Senior Researcher at Oxfam America, is excited about the new World Disasters Report Over the past two years, a boatload of reports and studies has pointed to the need to shift to greater local leadership of disaster prevention, preparedness, and response. In part this is driven by mounting humanitarian needs and the growing gap between those needs and the aid actually provided. There …

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Hello SDGs, what’s your theory of change?

Duncan Green - September 29, 2015

As Jed Bartlett would say, what’s next? Now the SDGs are official, there will be big discussions on financing and a geekfest on metrics and indicators. Both are important. But to my mind the big task is to collectively think through what the SDGs are meant to change and how they can best do so – in other words a theory(ies) of change. Here are …

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Some cautionary thoughts on this week’s SDGs summit

Duncan Green - September 22, 2015

The crescendo of discussion and debate over the successor to the Millennium Development Goals reaches its climax this weekend in New York, with the Sustainable Development Summit. The Guardian has a good scene setter. I’ve ploughed a contrarian furrow on the SDGs so far, so why stop now? Here are some things you might want to keep in mind over the next few days, with …

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How are disasters linked to inequality? Review of ‘The Disaster Profiteers’

Duncan Green - September 18, 2015

[The IT guys tell me they’ve finally found a fix on the email notification problem. If you get an email about this post for the first time in months, please either leave a comment, or vote in the poll to the right, to tell us it’s working] Debbie Hillier, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Policy Adviser  reviews The Disaster Profiteers: How natural disasters make the rich richer and …

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Aid and Development: A Brief Introduction. Book review of handy new bluffer’s guide

Duncan Green - September 15, 2015

One of the best things about Aid and Development: A Brief Introduction, by Myles Wickstead, is the user-friendly format: a 90 page basic introduction to the aid system from World War Two to the SDGs, followed by a 65 page compendium of 20 ‘key words and concepts’ from aid effectiveness to the UN system. Another plus is the author: Myles is a charming UK government …

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What are the drivers of change behind women’s empowerment at national level? The case of Colombia

Duncan Green - September 10, 2015

Just read a new case study of women’s empowerment in Colombia, part of ODI’s Development Progress series (summary here, full paper here). What’s useful is the level of analysis – a focus on the national rather than global or a project case study enables them to consider the various drivers of change at work. Some excerpts: Signs of Progress: Colombia is home to the longest …

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Is it useful/right to see Development as a Collective Action Problem?

Duncan Green - September 4, 2015

The Developmental Leadership Programme is producing a good series of bluffer’s guides Concept Briefs. The latest is on Collective Action (previous ones on Political Settlements and State Legitimacy). They’re just 3 pages, including further reading, and are ideal for anyone who wants to impress in a meeting by bandying around the latest jargon. According to the paper, written by Caryn Peiffer, ‘ A collective action …

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Aid agency ex-staff are a huge wasted asset – how cd we set up an alumni scheme and what wd it do?

Duncan Green - September 3, 2015

I regularly hear from friends who have been cold called by their old university, seeking to extract money from them for the alma mater (apparently hungry current students are particularly convincing). That got me thinking – how come aid organizations don’t do more with their alumni? Because Exfam staff (as we call them) are a wasted asset: many go on to influential jobs elsewhere in …

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I need your help: what to read on the international system; TNCs; leadership?

Duncan Green - September 2, 2015

OK, I need some help from the FP2P hive mind. I am getting to the crunch point on the much-trailed How Change Happens book. I have an October deadline for a consultation draft – you’ll be hearing from me at that point. To get there, I need to do some more background research in a few areas. Could you help me with suggested reading? Three big chunks: …

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