Tag: Adaptive Management

If top down control is unavoidable, can we still make aid more compatible with systems thinking?

Had a really interesting conversation last week with Oxfam Intermon and its friends in the Catalan aid system (in Spain, aid is regional with provinces and even cities like Barcelona pursuing active aid policies). I gave my usual rap about how complex systems require aid providers to adopt iterative, adaptive approaches to cope with uncertainty […]

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What have we learned from a close look at 3 DFID Adaptive Management programmes?

Adaptive Management week part 3 (with some trepidation given the recent comments from Heather Marquette et al about the proliferation of flakey case studies in lieu of evidence)…. My paper with Angela Christie summarizing our 3 case studies of big DFID-funded Adaptive Management projects in Myanmar, Tanzania and Nigeria is now online. Every word in […]

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What we’re missing by not getting our TWP alphabet straight

TWP guru Heather Marquette does everyone a great service by explaining the important differences between all the acronyms. I am struck by how often people say ‘TWP/PDIA/adaptive management/PEA…whatever’. Kind of like when my great-aunt calls me by various relatives’ names first before getting mine right – ‘Sheila… Mary…Lily…Heather!’ – these things may share a common genesis, […]

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Adaptive rigour: bridging the art and science of adaptive management

Ben Ramalingam and Leni Wild share the thinking behind a new initiative to support adaptive management in aid. Adaptive management seems to be everywhere these days – and is one of the most popular topics on this blog. More and more, it is becoming seen as the best way to deal with a wide range of […]

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What is different about how INGOs do Adaptive Management/Doing Development Differently?

Earlier this week I chaired a fascinating discussion on the findings of a new paper on an adaptive management (AM) experiment by Christian Aid Ireland (CAI). The paper really adds to our knowledge of AM/Doing Development Differently: It looks at the work of an INGO, when most formally identified AM practice and research involves big […]

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Working With/Against the Grain, the case for Toolkits, and the future of Thinking and Working Politically

Second instalment of my download from an intense day spent last week with the Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice (first instalment here).   Working With or Against the Grain? In a way, this is a reworking of the reformist v radical divide. Should TWP focus on understanding local institutions and find ways to […]

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Thinking and Working Politically – why the unexpected success?

Spent a fizzy day with the Thinking and Working Politically crew last week, taking stock on its (surprising?) success over the last 5 years (first sighting, November 2013 and this meeting in Delhi), and pondering next steps. Too much to say for a single post, so this will be spread over the next two days. […]

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Old Wine in New Bottles? 6 ways to tell if a programme is really ‘doing development differently’

Guest post from some of the top exponents of adaptive management/doing development differently These days it seems that everyone in the aid sector is doing development differently – presenting themselves as politically smart, locally led, flexible and adaptive. But is it true?  How much of this is “old wine in new bottles” – the language […]

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Adaptive Management meets Menstrual Hygiene

I recently visited Tanzania to look at adaptive management in the Institutions for Inclusive Development (I4ID) programme, a big (£12m over 5 years) project that is trying to use AM approaches in a fast-closing political space (more on that to follow, once Irene Guijt and I finish the draft paper). One highlight was watching some […]

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Adaptive Management: the trade offs; how to build trust; the sources of resistance and how to counter them

Not sure if you can take any more posts on Adaptive Management, but I had an interesting conversation with Stephen Gray on AM and Peacebuilding, which he may be using for a podcast. A few lightbulb moments: Things we often assume go together, but they actually don’t. Two candidates: Results v Risk: There is a […]

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Book Review: Navigation by Judgment, by Dan Honig

As its subtitle, ‘Why and When Top-Down Management of Foreign Aid Doesn’t Work’, suggests, this is an addition to the growing library of books on aid reform. And a very useful one. Honig is a hybrid scholar-practitioner, with dirt under his fingernails in East Timor and Liberia, and the book is for aid insiders, whether […]

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Internal battles within partner governments are what determine change. That has big implications for aid.

Alan Whaites argues that aid workers should abandon their blueprints and focus instead on understanding internal reform battles within governments and trying to help those fighting poverty from within. Recently a line stuck in my mind from one of Duncan’s recent posts about adaptive programmes with developing country partners: `if you introduce donors into that […]

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