how change happens

How do we encourage innovation in markets? What can systems thinking add?

Duncan Green - February 22, 2017

Earlier this month I spent a fun 3 days at a seminar discussing Market Systems Innovation. No really. I discovered a community of very smart people working on markets, who seem to be on a similar journey to the people working on governance and institutions, who I have spent most of my time with in recent years. Chatham House Rule, so the speakers must remain …

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Being bold: what Oxfam’s campaign on Yemen can teach us all about change

Duncan Green - February 21, 2017

In recent years, one of the things that has made me really proud to work for Oxfam has been its stand on Yemen. Here, Maya Mailer (@mayamailer) distils the lessons from our campaign. How do you convince people to care about a place no one has heard of? When we first started our campaign on Yemen almost two years ago, it wasn’t simply a ‘forgotten …

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Shaping the future of work in a digital world – why should development organisations care?

Duncan Green - February 17, 2017

On 13th March, IDS together with the Web Foundation and Nesta, are hosting the inaugural Digital Development Summit, with the support of DFID and the DFID-ESRC Impact Initiative (FYI: I will be one of the final panel speakers). This blog post is the first in a series that will be published by organisers and participants over the coming weeks. Here IDS’s Becky Faith and Ben …

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How Change Happens (or doesn’t) in the Humanitarian System

Duncan Green - February 15, 2017

I’ve been in Stockholm this week at the invitation of ALNAP, the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action, which has been holding its annual meeting on the banks of a frozen Swedish river. I was asked to comment on the background paper for the meeting, Changing Humanitarian Action?, by ALNAP’s Paul Knox-Clarke.  I read the paper on the flight over (great …

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What does ‘Security’ mean? Great (and well-written) paper from IDS

Duncan Green - February 14, 2017

I have been known in the past to be a little snippy about the writing style of esteemed colleagues from the Institute of Development Studies. So in the interests of balance, I want to celebrate a beautifully written, lyrical paper by IDS’ Robin Luckham. Whose Security? Building Inclusive and Secure Societies in an Unequal and Insecure World (OK, they could have worked on the title) …

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A philanthropist using systems thinking to build peace

Duncan Green - February 10, 2017

Steve Killelea is an intriguing man, an Aussie software millionaire who, in the words of his bio ‘decided to dedicate most of his time and fortune to sustainable development and peace’.  Think a more weather-beaten Bill Gates. He also (full disclosure) bought me a very nice lunch last week. In pursuit of this aim he set up the Institute for Economics and Peace in 2007. …

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What determines whether/how an organization can learn? Interesting discussion at DFID.

Duncan Green - February 9, 2017

I was invited along to DFID last week for a discussion on how organizations learn. There was an impressive turnout of senior civil serpents – the issue has clearly got their attention. Which is great because I came away with the impression that they (and Oxfam for that matter) have a long way to go to really become a ‘learning organization’. So please make allowances …

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How Change Happens + 3 months: how’s it going?

Duncan Green - February 8, 2017

It’s now 3 months since How Change Happens came out (did I mention I’d published a new book?) so I dropped in at the publishers, OUP, last week to take stock. OUP took some risks with this book, notably agreeing to go Open Access from day one. That is a huge leap from the traditional publishing model of publishing only the hardback for a year, then deciding …

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Multinational Companies in retreat? Fascinating Economist briefing

Duncan Green - February 2, 2017

Now we’re all looking for ways to break out of filter bubble, I guess I can feel less guilty about loving The Economist. Beautifully written, it covers places and issues other papers ignore, and every so often has a big standback piece that makes you rethink. This week’s cover story, ‘the retreat of the global company’, is a fine example. Excerpts from the 4 page …

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Watching Oxfam morph into an interdependent networked system

Duncan Green - February 1, 2017

While I’ve been ivory towering on the book for the last couple of years, Oxfam has been going through a wrenching internal reform (wait, don’t click – this gets interesting, honest!). Known as Oxfam 2020, 18 different Oxfam affiliates are slowly and painfully sorting out a single operating system and pushing power down to countries and a new swathe of southern affiliates, all while retaining …

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