how change happens

A lesson on power and the abstruse (or a love-peeve relationship Part 2)

Duncan Green - December 7, 2016

Duly provoked by yesterday’s assault on IDS’ use of language, John Gaventa responds with a really nice story/rebuttal As ever, we are delighted to see Duncan Green’s interesting and incisive blog on the new IDS Bulletin on Power, Poverty and Inequality. In talking about what he calls his ‘love – peeve’ relationship with IDS, Duncan raises important questions of language in how we discuss power, …

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Doing Data Differently: Lessons from the Results Data Initiative

Duncan Green - December 2, 2016

Guest post from Dustin Homer, Director of Engagement and Partnerships at Development Gateway Development folks see magical possibilities for data-driven decision-making. We want data and evidence to improve our work—to help us reach marginalized people, allocate budgets effectively, and see which activities work the best. And it’s not all buzz; we’re getting serious about investing real resources into this development data revolution. So here’s the …

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What role for local actors in system change? Fighting climate change in the UK

Duncan Green - November 29, 2016

Ruth Mayne, Oxfam’s senior researcher on the effectiveness of influencing, reflects on some personal influencing she was involved with before (re)joining Oxfam. In the development world we often emphasise the importance of strengthening community action but is it really possible for local, rather than national and international, actors to contribute to system change? And if so, why and how does this happen, and under what …

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Friday rant: ‘development’ is not the same as ‘aid’. Got that?

Duncan Green - November 25, 2016

A recent headline in my RSS feed flicked my ‘Activate Rant’ button. ‘This Video from Uganda Highlights Everything Wrong with Global Development’ it shouted. I knew what the video was about – some young white American missionaries getting into trouble for ‘dressing up native’ and singing ‘get your mission on’ provoked outrage in various quarters. I hadn’t found it interesting enough to blog or even …

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Is it time to move on from Stats and Numbers to Metaphor and Narrative?

Duncan Green - November 23, 2016

Post Brexit and US elections, I’ve been doing some thinking about how we talk to people. It seems to me that, along with much of the aid and development sector, and quite a few other social change movements, we have been in thrall to the power of numbers and evidence. Everyone is a policy wonk these days. The trouble is, as this year’s political events …

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Where has the Doing Development Differently movement got to, two years on?

Duncan Green - November 22, 2016

The DDD crew reassembled in London last week, two years on from the Harvard meeting that really got the ball rolling. Unfortunately I could only attend the first session and the next day’s post mortem, so other participants, please feel free to add your own impressions/put me right. DDD is evolving fast into something approaching a big tent movement. At its core are principles of iteration, …

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Some highlights from the first 30 book launches for How Change Happens

Duncan Green - November 17, 2016

I’m about six weeks into launching How Change Happens, and am having a great (if knackering) time. Highlights so far include a Kurdish/Dutch guitar combo warming up the crowd in Nijmegen, conversations with an Islamic finance entrepreneur trying to do financial inclusion in South Wales, a great group of women managing a community-run service station on the M5 motorway and a network of ‘social leaders’ …

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Fragility v Conflict – can you help with a new 2×2 please?

Duncan Green - November 16, 2016

Struggling towards the finishing line on my paper on empowerment and accountability (E&A) in fragile and conflict- affected settings (FCAS) – thanks to everyone who commented on the first draft, by the way). It’s nearly there but I need your help with one particular section. I want to argue that lumping ‘fragile’ and ‘conflict’ together in one category is very unhelpful. In reality, many violent …

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Overcoming Premature Evaluation

Duncan Green - November 15, 2016

Chris Roche (the koala – I’m the kangaroo, right) is a friend and a brilliant development thinker, even if he has an alarming tendency to be able to reference development jargon like a machine gun. If you can get past the first para, this is well worth your time. There is a growing interest in safe-fail experimentation, failing fast and rapid real time feedback loops.  This …

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Only (re)Connect. The US elections, How Change Happens and where do we go from here?

Duncan Green - November 11, 2016

This is just me indulging in a little personal therapy as I come to terms with this week’s political earthquake. If you want the official Oxfam response, we’re working on it, but you’ll have to wait (should be out before the 2020 elections). So this is just me. Is that clear? Good. Trexit? Brump? 2016 is proving to be one hell of an annus horribilis …

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