Tag: how change happens

What did I learn from teaching LSE students about advocacy and campaigns?

I spent a week last month marking student assignments. Sounds boring, right? Well it was brain-drainingly hard work, but it was also enthralling. Usually I just give lectures or write stuff, and the level of feedback is pretty cursory. In contrast, marking the assignments for a course you have taught provides a unique peek inside […]

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What kind of Evidence Influences local officials? A great example from Guatemala

I met Walter Flores at a Twaweza seminar in Tanzania a couple of months ago, but have only just got round to reading his fascinating paper reflecting on 10 years of trying to improve Public Health in Guatemala. It is short (12 pages), snappily written, with a very crisp, hard-hitting thesis, so no need to […]

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Where does political will come from?

Claire Mcloughlin and David Hudson from the University of Birmingham’s International Development Department summarise the Developmental Leadership Program’s recent 10 year synthesis report, Inside the Black Box of Political Will.  When reforms fail, people often bemoan a lack of ‘political will’. Whether it’s failure to introduce legislation promoting women’s rights, not getting vital public services to […]

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5 common gaps and 4 dilemmas when we design influencing campaigns

I’ve just read the initial proposals of 30+ LSE students taking my one-term Masters module on Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots Activism. Their two main assignments are to work as groups analysing past episodes of change (more on that later in the term) and individual projects where they design an influencing exercise based on their own […]

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Tackling poverty and injustice by influencing behaviours and practices: what works?

Ruth Mayne, Oxfam’s senior researcher on influencing, introduces a new discussion paper on behaviour and practice change, written with Melanie Kesmaecker-Wissing, Lucy Knight and Jola Miziniak. This was first posted on Oxfam’s Views and Voices site. Behaviour change strategies can play a vital role in combating poverty, injustice and environmental problems, whether by helping end gender-based violence, […]

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What did I learn in Myanmar about what Adaptive Programming actually looks like?

I’m still processing a fascinating week in Myanmar. No I wasn’t in Rakhine, in case you’re wondering (separate post on that may follow). Instead, along with aid programming guru Angela Christie, I was exploring what ‘adaptive management’ looks like on the ground, and how it compares to all the fine-sounding stuff repeated endlessly in aid […]

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How Oxfam and Save changed US aid on local ownership: nice case study in influencing

I do love it when NGOs are taken by surprise in a good way – getting results in unexpected ways, rather than grinding through the plan. A neat example came up at Oxfam’s recent Evidence for Influencing conference. Here’s what happened. Oxfam America and Save the Children wanted to persuade USAID to do more on […]

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Winning Ugly and Learning from the Bad Guys: Discussing How Change Happens with the Greens

Had an HCH session with some extremely smart wonks at the Green Alliance last week. I gave my standard talk, focussing on a ‘Power and Systems Approach’. This argues that for activism to be more in line with messy, emergent realities, activists need to change their way of working to give greater weight to: Curiosity […]

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Kevin Watkins on the power of stigma and shame as a driver of change

Kevin Watkins, a fellow Prof in Practice at the LSE, came along to talk to my students last week (review by Masters student Haisley Wert here). Kevin is a bit of a research and campaigning legend in the aid biz – the brains behind a lot of epic Oxfam campaigns on trade and debt in […]

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What are the politics of our survival as a species? Introducing the Climate Change Trilemma

So a physicist, an anthropologist, and two political economists have lunch in the LSE canteen and start arguing about climate change….. I was (very notionally) the physicist; my other lunchtime companions were Robert Wade, Teddy Brett and Jason Hickel (the anthropologist). Jason was arguing for degrowth and reminded me of the excellent debate on this […]

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The Great Leveller: A conversation with Walter Scheidel on Inequality and Apocalypse

When I visited Stanford recently at the invitation of Francis Fukuyama, I also dropped in on Walter Scheidel, an Austrian historian who has taken time off from his main interest (the Romans) to write a powerful, and pretty depressing, book on inequality. Like Fukuyama, Scheidel is a big brain who favours the grand narrative – […]

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How Change Happens one year on – the stats, the suffering and the power of Open Access

It’s a year to the day since How Change Happens was published (I made the mistake of putting ‘narcissistic peak’ in my diary, and my wife Cathy saw it – never heard the end of it). Here’s what’s happened since. First the stats: the headline figure is that in the first year, the book has […]

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