influencing

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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If you think knowledge is expensive, try ignorance. Smart new job in Oxfam’s research team

Duncan Green - March 22, 2016

Oxfam’s new head or research Irene Guijt debuts on FP2P to urge you to come and work with her. ‘How Change Happens’ is a pretty popular topic of late on this blog, in case you hadn’t noticed. And not without reason.  In a sector that invests $140 billion per year to reduce poverty and injustices, it is not just useful  to know whether our bets …

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Which bits of advice do developing country decision makers actually listen to? Great new research

Duncan Green - May 12, 2015

Another interesting feedback loop in the aid system: a new report, The Marketplace of Ideas for Policy Change summarizes a survey of 6,750 policymakers and practitioners in 126 low- and middle-income countries to find out which of the innumerable bits of advice and analysis churned out by aid agencies, international organizations and NGOs actually influence their work. What’s most alarming is how original this is …

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What makes it possible to do joined-up programmes and advocacy? And what prevents it?

Duncan Green - May 1, 2015

Here’s a second instalment on ‘influencing’, following yesterday’s piece from Erinch Sahan   There’s a lot of talk in the aid biz about ‘getting out of our siloes’ – the traditional division of labour between ‘long term development’, ‘humanitarian’ and ‘advocacy’. I’ve seen this most starkly in some classic campaigns like Make Poverty History or Make Trade Fair, which seemed to have very little connection to …

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How can grassroots aid programmes influence the wider system?

Duncan Green - April 30, 2015

In the first of two posts on how aid agencies can use their grassroots work to exert wider influence, Erinch Sahan discusses his work with livelihoods programmes (jobs, incomes etc). Tomorrow, I’ll discuss the conditions for such ‘joined-up influencing’ to work. “Give someone a fish and you feed them for a day; teach someone to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.” Sounds comfortingly …

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If annoying, talking down to or ‘othering’ people is a terrible way to influence them, why do we keep doing it? (research edition)

Duncan Green - February 12, 2015

I’ve been thinking about how we criticize/critique people, groups and ideas recently. It started with a conversation with my pal Chris Roche who first expressed surprise at the snarky tone of my post on a paper on NGOs (What can we learn from a really annoying paper on NGOs and development?) and then pronounced himself a bit irritated by some of the ‘Doing Development Differently’ …

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What are the implications of ‘doing development differently’ for NGO Campaigns and Advocacy?

Duncan Green - February 10, 2015

I’ve been having fun recently taking some of the ideas around ‘Doing Development Differently’ and applying them to INGOs, building on the post I wrote last year on ‘You can’t take a supertanker white-water rafting’. The Exam Question is: Given complexity, systems thinking and the failure of top down approaches, what future, if any, is there for International NGOs? Paper and blog forthcoming – bet …

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How can advocacy NGOs become more innovative? Your thoughts please.

Duncan Green - March 11, 2014

Innovation. Who could be against it? Not even Kim Jong Un, apparently. People working on aid and development spend an increasing time discussing it – what is it? How do we get more of it? Who is any good at it? Innovation Tourette’s is everywhere. Most of that discussion takes place in areas such as programming (what we do on the ground) or internal management …

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What do White House Policy Makers want from Researchers? Important survey findings.

Duncan Green - February 28, 2014

Interesting survey of US policymakers in December’s International Studies Quarterly journal. I’m not linking to it because it’s gated, thereby excluding more or less everyone outside a traditional academic institution (open data anyone?) but here’s a draft of What Do Policymakers Want From Us?, by Paul Avey and Michael Desch. The results are as relevant to NGO advocacy people trying to influence governments as they are …

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Campaigning and Complexity: how do we campaign on a problem when we don’t know the solution?

admin - June 19, 2013

Had a thought-provoking discussion on ‘influencing’ with Exfamer (ex Oxfam Australia turned consultant) James Ensor a few days ago. The starting point was an apparent tension between the reading I’ve been doing on complex systems, and Oxfam’s traditional model of campaigning. In my first days at Oxfam, I was told that the recipe for a successful campaign was ‘problem, villain, solution’ (heroes are apparently optional). …

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