how change happens

Tikamgarh revisited, what’s happened to the amazing fishing communities I visited in 2006?

Duncan Green - April 27, 2016

Just got back from a great week in India, including my first attempt at a phone vlog (above). One of the drawbacks of being a generalist is that you go somewhere, hear riveting stories of organization, resistance (and sometimes of course, of failure), but then never find out what happened next. But last week I managed to return to one of the places and stories that …

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Civil society must change itself before it can change the world

Duncan Green - April 26, 2016

  Danny Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of the Civicus global civil society network, has some heretical thoughts about CSOs putting their own house in order This week, more than 900 activists from more than 100 countries are meeting in Bogotá, Colombia for International Civil Society Week. We will come together at what feels like a momentous and difficult time for civil society. My colleagues have documented …

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Thought Leadership and NGOs: What is it? How can we get better at it?

Duncan Green - April 21, 2016

Here’s today’s 2 minute vlog summary for the incurably lazy/visual The aid business specializes in baffling, slippery concepts, often adopted as the latest management fuzzwords (like buzzwords, but fuzzy). One recent example in Oxfam was a brainstorm on ‘thought leadership’ – What is it? Does Oxfam do it? Do we want to do more of it? If so, how can we do it better? My …

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Michael Jacobs on how civil society and others achieved the Paris Climate Agreement

Duncan Green - April 20, 2016

A brilliant analysis by Michael Jacobs of the success factors behind last year’s Paris Climate Agreement appeared in Juncture, IPPR’s quarterly journal  recently. Jacobs unpacks the role of civil society (broadly defined) and political leadership. Alas, it’s over 4,000 words long, so as a service to my attention deficit colleagues in aid and development, here’s an abbreviated version (about a third the length, but if …

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What have 3 years of campaigning on Big Food achieved? What still needs to happen?

Duncan Green - April 19, 2016

Erinch Sahan, acting head of Oxfam’s private sector team, looks back on 3 years of trying to get the world’s food giants to clean up their act, the subject of a new Behind the Brands report. The captains of the food industry have come a long way over the last few years. The “Big 10”, the world’s 10 largest food and beverage companies, have moved from …

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Book Review: Branko Milanovic’s brilliant take on Global Inequality

Duncan Green - April 15, 2016

Some of my favourite development economists are nomads, people with feet in different regions, which seems to make them better able to identify interesting patterns and similarities/differences between countries. Ha-Joon Chang (Korea/UK), Dani Rodrik (Turkey/US) and now Branko Milanovic (Serbia/US), whose latest book Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization is a brilliant and thought-provoking essay stuffed with enough graphs to satisfy …

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Women and Power: final report of excellent research project + top recommendations for aid agencies

Duncan Green - April 13, 2016

ODI have just wrapped up an excellent two year project on ‘Women and power: overcoming barriers to leadership and influence’ with a final synthesis report that is well worth reading. It’s an intelligent discussion, informed by the thinking in the ‘Doing Development Differently’ network (which is in need of a stronger gender focus). It combines some ‘well duh’ obvious stuff (‘elite women are most able …

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Payment by Results take 2: what I learned from the response to last month’s rant

Duncan Green - April 12, 2016

A couple of weeks ago I posted a fairly polemical piece about the hype around ‘payment by results’, which prompted quite a response, including a piece by CGD’s Nancy Birdsall and William Savedoff, and an excellent set of comments from a bunch of people who are much more on top of the issue than I am (not difficult, I know). Nancy argued that the problem with …

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How do we make sure the Panama Papers lead to lasting reforms on tax evasion?

Duncan Green - April 7, 2016

Scandals like the Panama Papers are a massive potential driver of policy change. In normal times, the sources of inertia are great and politicians wishing to make change happen face an array of vested interests and fixed ideas telling them what they want is either insane or impossible. It takes a scandal to shake things up, delegitimize the status quo, and persuade decision makers that …

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Book Review: Gender at Work: Theory and Practice for 21st Century Organizations

Duncan Green - April 6, 2016

Gender at Work: Theory and Practice for 21st Century Organizations by Rao, Sandler, Kelleher and Miller, Routledge, 2016 This was another book that came to my rescue as I was struggling towards the finishing line on How Change Happens. In particular, it pulled together thinking about different kinds of power and change in a practical format for activists. The book draws on 15 years of …

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