Topic: how change happens

Why We Fight: This Year’s Big Book on Development?

Why We Fight, by Chris Blattman, a prof at the University of Chicago, is shaping up to be this year’s Big Book – it’s everywhere on my timeline, the FT book of the summer etc etc. A summary and some thoughts. Usually I decide early on if I like a book or not, on the […]

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Is behavioural economics (aka nudge theory) blocking the path to progress?

There’s been an upsurge in recent decades in tackling problems by trying to change the behaviour of individuals – behavioural economics, nudge theory and a proliferation of government ‘nudge units’. Now two disillusioned proponents, Nick Chater and George Loewenstein, have written an important critique of the whole thing, contrasting what they call the ‘i (individual) […]

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(Re)making the case for adaptive management part 2: What to read? What Constitutes Evidence? Where are the Gaps?

Tom Aston continues yesterday’s summary of what we know about adaptive management There are many papers which make a convincing case for adaptive programming. Here’s my top 5: Escaping capability traps through problem-driven iterative adaptation (Andrews, Pritchett, and Woolcock, 2012) Getting real about politics: from thinking politically to working differently (Rocha Menocal, 2014) Development entrepreneurship: how donors and leaders […]

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(Re)making the case for adaptive management

Following yesterday’s reflection on the MEL of working in complex systems, Tom Aston provides a great overview of what to read on adaptive management. It’s a long one, so I’ve split it into two – second installment tomorrow. Christian Aid Ireland’s recent publication The Difference Learning Makes by Stephen Gray and Andy Carl made a bit of a […]

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Rethinking monitoring, evaluation and learning in complex systems

Two interesting recent posts on Adaptive Management, complexity etc, which the authors have kindly allowed me to repost here. First up is Søren Vester Haldrup, from UNDP’s Strategic Innovation Unit, wrestling with the issue of measurement and learning. Original post here. Tomorrow Tom Aston provides a great overview of where we’ve got to on adaptive […]

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Why mothers are taking the fight for climate action to Lloyd’s of London

Guest post by Exfamer Maya Mailer In torrential rain, I clutched my 3 year-old daughter’s little hand. I was outside Lloyd’s of London, one of the world’s biggest insurers of fossil fuels, with a group of parents, toddlers and a giant paper mache oil drum filled with dying flowers. It was almost Father’s Day 2021. […]

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Billionaires made more in the 24 months of the pandemic than they did in 23 years. Oxfam on Davos

Max Lawson on Oxfam’s latest Davos broadside and his worries that his salary is about to get cut We are living through extraordinary times. Extraordinarily bad for the vast majority of humanity.  Extraordinarily good if you are one of the richest people in the world. Normally they meet in January at Davos, but that face-to-face […]

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An important new book on technology, power and development

Patching Development: Information Politics and Social Change in India by Rajesh Veeraraghavan is a wonderful and important book, a deep dive into the world’s largest social protection programme – India’s NREGA scheme – to explore the interaction between state reformers and citizen activists, as they work together, or sometimes against each other, to overcome the […]

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How do we identify, support and/or build Champions in Development?

Nothing says ‘this needs a blog’ more than an over-long executive summary…. So here’s a summary and a few thoughts on ITAD’s report for the Gates Foundation on Champions: How to identify, support, and evaluate advocates for social change (full report 134 pages, Exec Sum 11 pages). I liked this because the aid sector is […]

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How Should Academics talk to Decision-Makers? Some Interesting New Research

I’m not a great fan of post-growth/degrowth debates – not enough emphasis on how to actually change policy for my liking (compared to the ‘I’m right, the planet is frying, why won’t you listen!’ school of advocacy). But a new paper by the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity caught my eye because it […]

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