Tag: how change happens

If change requires both cooperation and conflict, can we really do both?

I’ve been thinking about my recent trip to Honduras, how change happens, and the discussions there (and with some other country teams since then) about what I am calling the ‘cooperation-conflict cycle’ (see pic). The default mode in Oxfam and most large NGOs is generally uncomfortable with conflict, but research by John Gaventa and others […]

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How can you regulate the beat of a butterfly’s wing?

OK, this may be a bit pointy headed, but it has got me thinking. I ran an early draft of this post past Ben Ramalingam (see pic), who thinks a lot about this kind of thing, and include some of his comments here. Fact one: we NGOs are always calling for the regulation of what […]

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Power and change – how do they fit in development work?

This is a summary of a briefing paper I bashed out for last week’s discussion on ‘how change happens’ with Oxfam’s big cheeses (with thanks to Jo Rowlands and Thalia Kidder for their help). It’s work in progress, so all comments and suggestions very welcome. In the last few years, ‘how change happens’ (HCH)  has gone […]

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Soccer, mobile workshops and struggle: how change happens in Bolivia

I’ ve been locked away all week with Oxfam’s big cheeses, who meet twice a year for a week’s deep thought, collective therapy and an avalanche of management-speak. The theme this time was ‘how change happens’ (HCH): everyone arrived with a programme story + analysis of the change process. They were fascinating, and I’ll probably […]

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10 Challenges to 'business as usual' for development agencies: FP2P flashback

OMG, nearly three years on and almost everything on this list would still be on today’s version. But at least I could point to progress, in the shape of specific bits of thinking, reseach and/or programming. on nearly all of them. What new additions would go on today’s list, I wonder? Domestic taxation; resource scarcity […]

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What does a theory of change look like?

I’ve been working on ‘how change happens’ for a few years now, as regulars to this blog will know, but in the last few months, ‘theories of change’ has gone viral as a new development fuzzword. In meetings and documents, people earnestly enquire ‘what’s your theory of change?’ and you’re in trouble if you don’t […]

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What use are models of change? An experiment in Tanzania

I spent last week in Tanzania, but had to wait til I returned to internet-land before blogging on it. So this is Tanzania week on the blog.   First up, models of change (MoC). As you may have noticed, I’ve been thinking a lot about these recently. That usually involves exhausting intellectual gymnastics in seminars […]

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How can better models of change sharpen up our work on development?

Regular visitors to this blog will know that I’ve been doing quite a lot of floundering about thinking on different models of change (e.g. what triggered the revolution in Egypt? What does complexity theory add to/subtract from our thinking about development?) Partly it’s because in my ideal world, every time an NGO or research institution […]

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Egypt: What are the drivers of change?

An edited version of this piece appeared today on the Guardian’s ‘Poverty Matters’ blog. When interpreting something like the Egyptian upheaval, people tend to project their own passions onto the screen. The twitterati see a social media revolution; the foodies see food price hikes at its core; others see a hunger for democratization; the human […]

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How to write the recommendations to a report on almost anything: introducing Friday Formulae

I really enjoyed (if that’s the right word…) the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, but when it got to its recommendations, it struck me as incredibly formulaic. In that respect, it resembled an awful lot of the stuff I read (and, I fear, write) from thinktanks, international organizations and NGOs – fascinating diagnosis; shame about the cure. […]

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Who's better at preparing tomorrow's campaigners: LSE or Harvard?

Enough about aid, let’s talk about campaigning. By pure coincidence, I’ve been spending time with a bunch of Master in Public Adminstration (MPA) students recently – fascinating, not least because of the different approaches taken by their courses. Last week, the winning team from this year’s crop at the London School of Economics came in […]

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Book Review: how citizen action leads to national change

When discussing social change (or anything else), there’s no substitute for good case studies. They inspire and provoke new thinking, helping us move beyond platitudes and generalizations, and they stick in the mind as islands of reality in a sea of social science blah. ‘Citizen action and national policy: making change happen’ a new book […]

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