Tag: how change happens

9 Ways to get northern constituencies involved in changing the world: useful typology

Like everyone else, if Buzzfeed is any guide, I love a good list. I’m also increasingly obsessed with theories of change. So imagine my joy when I read Exfamer May Miller-Dawkins’ paper ‘9 Ways to Change the World’, which offers not one, but two lists. The paper is an attempt to come up with a typology […]

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Reformers v lobbyists: where have we got to on tackling corporate tax dodging?

The rhythm of NGO advocacy and campaigning sometimes makes it particularly hard to work on complicated issues, involving drawn-out negotiations where bad guys have more resources and staying power than we do. Campaigns on trade, climate change, debt relief etc often follow a similar trajectory – a big NGO splash as a new issue breaks, […]

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What’s missing from the ‘Active Citizens + Effective States’ formula in From Poverty to Power?

Oh dear. Be careful what you wish for. When I wrote From Poverty to Power (the book, not the blog), we came up with a nice subtitle that seemed to capture a common thread linking the very diverse topics covered in the book – ‘How Active Citizens and Effective States can Change the World.’ But […]

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What questions help us understand how change happens?

How do we analyse the stories of change that we all use in development? Such stories shape narratives, illustrate approaches and enrich our understanding of how change happens. Regular readers of this blog will know that this is a running theme, but I’m now about to step it up, working with colleagues across Oxfam and […]

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From superstorm Sandy to climate solidarity: How extreme weather can unlock climate action

From a battered New York, Oxfam climate change policy adviser Tim Gore (right) considers the wider impact of major ‘weather events’ on the climate change debate I live in New York, half a block outside Evacuation Zone A on the East side of Manhattan. My partner and I, like many others, had our quick-run bags […]

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What does Tolstoy's War and Peace teach us about Causation, Complexity and Theories of Change?

Just finished reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace, an amazing work, which quite possibly justifies the blurb’s ‘greatest novel in any language’ claim (who on earth decides these things and how?). I read it 30 years ago, but to be honest, I’m not sure I understood much of it then. Tolstoy manages to combine the enthralling […]

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Can theories of change help researchers (or their funders) have more impact?

Got dragged into DFID this week for yet another session on theories of change. This one was organized by the DFID-funded Research for Development (R4D) project (sorry, ‘portal’). A lot of my previous comments on such sessions apply – in DFID the theories of change agenda seems rather dominated by evaluation and planning (‘logframes on […]

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How should our influencing strategy vary with the kind of state we're working in?

Despite the deeply unimpressive response to my last attempt (on top killer facts – not too late to chip in), I’m willing to give you another chance to provide us with unpaid consultancy crowdsource some useful ideas. This time it is helping us think through how an INGO’s influencing strategy at national level (whether through advocacy, […]

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Theories of change = logframes on steroids? A discussion with DFID

‘Theories of Change is just the latest attempt to shine a light on what lies behind, what makes everything work or fail. We constantly reach for new tools, but we keep alighting on small islands and losing the big picture.’ Jake Allen, Christian Aid I recently spoke at a half-day DFID seminar discussing a draft […]

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How Change Happens: Defeating Oil Exploration in the San Andres Archipelago

I recently gave a weekend ‘pro-seminar’ on ‘how change happens’ to masters students at Brandeis University in Boston. I’ll post the powerpoints separately. The students were from all over the world, many from activist backgrounds – a fascinating and fun crew, most of them on the ‘sustainable international development‘ Masters. For their assignments, they had […]

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Building accountability in Tanzania: applying an evolutionary/venture capitalist theory of change

A version of this post appeared yesterday on ‘People, Spaces, Deliberation’, the World Bank’s clunkily-named but interesting governance and accountability blog. I’ve been catching up on our accountability work in Tanzania recently, and it continues to be really ground-breaking. Rather than churning out the standard logical framework of activities, outputs and predicted outcomes before the […]

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So the world is a complex system – what should aid agencies do differently?

Had a fascinating chat with Jean Boulton (right) this week. Jean is a physicist-by-training (a real one, unlike me – I jumped ship after my first degree). These days she is a management consultant and social scientist who has been working to bring ideas of complexity theory into organisations for many years. More recently she […]

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