how change happens

What are the implications of systems thinking for the way we design research?

Duncan Green - July 19, 2016

If you stick around in your job long enough, you end up getting consulted a lot. Every week I seem to spend a couple of hours on skype banging on to assorted academics, NGOs consultants etc about NGOs, aid, development, life, the universe etc. The only upside (apart from a bit of human contact and an escape from reading/writing boring development documents) is getting the …

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Campaigning to Make India’s Roads Safer: A nice How Change Happens case study

Duncan Green - July 7, 2016

A smart How Change Happens case study by David Bornstein in the New York Times’ ‘Fixes’ series (highly recommended). Bornstein looks at the advocacy of the SaveLife Foundation, set up by Piyush Tewari, a businessman, after his cousin Shivam was knocked down by a jeep then left to bleed to death by the roadside. Excerpts + commentary from me in italics. “India has surpassed China as …

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If you want to organize an event on How Change Happens this autumn, please let me know

Duncan Green - June 29, 2016

My new book, How Change Happens, is published in October by OUP. I know, I know, there is no sight so craven or humiliating as a writer desperate to promote their book. Any better ideas? The academic summer break is approaching fast, so as a first step, we’re inviting expressions of interest from universities, NGOs or anyone else in being part of the launch. The …

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What does ‘How Change Happens’ thinking tell us about Brexit?

Duncan Green - June 28, 2016

I was in Lisbon running a ‘How Change Happens’ summer school when the Brexit news came in, so I thought I’d apply an HCH analysis to a seismic event. I’m not an expert on UK politics, so this is bound to be pretty uninformed compared to the avalanche of post mortems in the press, but let’s see where it goes. First up a disclaimer. As Timothy …

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How does Change Happen in China?

Duncan Green - June 8, 2016

The honest answer is of course that I have no idea. Given China’s size, complexity, opacity and the language barrier created by being a non-mandarin speaker, a week of meetings and conversations can only leave a string of vague and often contradictory impressions. But here they are anyway: Is China’s development complex or complicated? The standard account of China’s extraordinary transformation is of a triumph …

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How Change Happens: a conversation with 25 top campaigners from around the world

Duncan Green - May 18, 2016

Spent an exhilarating morning last week with Oxfam’s ‘Campaigns and Advocacy Leadership Programme’. Must have been at least 20 nationalities in the room, with huge experience and wisdom. The topic was How Change Happens (what else). To give you a flavour, here are some of the topics that came up, with my takes on them: Is power a zero sum game, i.e. empowering one group …

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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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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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Which of these 3 How Change Happens covers do you prefer? Vote now!

Duncan Green - February 26, 2016

Many years ago, around the time of the invention of the printing press, interweb, I worked in a small publisher and was given a ‘guide to handling authors’. One passage stayed with me – publishers should expect authors to throw a hissy fit when they first see roughs for the cover design. It’s their first chance to vent their anxieties and blame someone else for …

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Doing Problem Driven Work, great new guide for governance reformers and activists

Duncan Green - February 24, 2016

One of the criticisms of the big picture discussion on governance  that’s been going on in networks such as Doing Development Differently and Thinking and Working Politically is that it’s all very helicopter-ish. ‘What do I do differently on Monday morning?’, comes the frustrated cry of the practitioner. Now some really useful answers are starting to come onstream, and I’ll review a few of them. …

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