The Power of Numbers: Why the MDGs were flawed (and post2015 goals look set to go the same way)

I’ve just been reading the findings of a research programme that concludes that the whole MDGs exercise has been plagued by negative (if unintended) consequences, and that these are a result of the whole process of setting goals and targets (so the post2015/SDG process is likely to go the same way). Have I got your […]

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Why is it so much harder to talk about politics than about policies?

I’ve been running into some resistance recently in writing about politics, and some interesting patterns are starting to emerge. Firstly, when I sent round a draft piece on the politics and policies of national redistribution (i.e. when you look at the countries who have reduced inequality, what did they do and what were the politics […]

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How can we get better at promoting active citizenship? Lessons from ten case studies

Over the last few months I’ve been writing a series of ten case studies on Oxfam’s work in promoting active citizenship, and blogging the drafts for comments (thanks for those – really helpful). These will be published shortly, along with an overview paper on the patterns that emerged across the ten studies. Here are some […]

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Will these Sustainable Development Goals get us into the doughnut (aka a safe and just space for humanity)? Guest post from Kate Raworth

Kate Raworth left Oxfam’s research team last year to devote herself to some really pioneering thinking on how to combine environmental and social concerns in a new approach she calls ‘doughnut economics‘ (book due in 2016 – it could be a biggie). Here she casts her doughnutty gaze over the UN’s recently drafted Sustainable Development […]

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Risk = ‘to dare’. Why funders need to rethink their attitude to risk if they really want to support innovation

Following on from last week’s piece on the role of Foundations, here’s an excerpt from an excellent piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Although it is aimed at Foundations, spending the income from their endowments, it has important messages for others, including NGOs. ‘Risk stands at the center of an inherent creative tension within […]

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The Pocket Piketty: a two page intro for non-bookworms

One of my main functions within Oxfam seems to be to review books to spare everyone else the effort. Last week, I was on Piketty duty. Batches of campaigns and policy types sat in suitable veneration around a copy of the giant tome, and I talked them through this two page ‘Pocket Piketty’. The Potted […]

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How did a global campaign bring about a UN Arms Trade Treaty?

The last (but most definitely not least) of the case studies in active citizenship that I have been blogging about over the last couple of months is the inspiring global campaign that led to the agreement (and impending ratification) of a UN Arms Trade Treaty. It is co-authored with Anna Macdonald, one of the key […]

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Why social entrepreneurship has become a distraction: it’s mainstream capitalism that needs to change

Pamela Hartigan, Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, is having second thoughts about the impact of social entrepreneurs. The first time I heard the term “social entrepreneur” I thought it referred to business people who liked to party. That was about twenty years ago, when the term was […]

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Links I liked

This week’s top tweets – I’m realizing that the only things that get picked up on twitter are generally visuals. I guess it’s not cut out for the written word (apart from haikus). Click to expand the smaller ones (hard to squeeze them all in). Gaza (what else?) I’m just going to look at the […]

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A week in the life of a humanitarian agency (it really is all kicking off everywhere)

To give people a better feel for our humanitarian work in Gaza, Syria and elsewhere, I thought I’d share the contents (unedited, but with a few explanatory links added + pics) of the weekly internal email that drops into Oxfam staff’s inboxes. It summarizes in pithy form what our humanitarian colleagues are up to – I think […]

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