Tag: research

Capacity development is hard to do – but it’s possible to do it well

Lisa Denney’s gloomy take on the state of capacity building in the aid industry prompted quite a few comments and offers of blog posts, including this from Jon Harle of INASP, on organization that ‘strengthens the capacity of individuals and institutions to produce, share and use research and knowledge, in support of national development.’ Lisa […]

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Of Course Research Has Impact. Here’s how.

Irene Guijt, Oxfam GB’s head of research, puts me straight after my recent scepticism about the impact of research. And I don’t mean personal impact on CVs. At the annual Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) impact award ceremony in Westminster, I got a glimpse of the best of what that Research Council has to […]

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The Case for a ‘Slow and Steady’ Approach to Capacity Building

In response to Lisa Denney’s piece last week on the low quality of much capacity building work in the aid biz, several people got in touch to say ‘but we do it better’. Here’s one example – a guest post from Arjan de Haan and Olivia Tran, from one of my favourite organizations, IDRC (see […]

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Empowerment and Accountability in Messy Places. Need your advice on Nigeria, Pakistan, Myanmar and Mozambique.

My post-book research plans are shaping up, so it’s time to ask for your advice. As well as the work I blogged about recently on Public Authority in fragile/conflict-affected settings, I’m doing some research with Oxfam and Itad on how ‘adaptive management’ plays out in those same settings. Here’s the blurb: ‘There is much hype […]

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Improving collaboration between practitioners and academics: what to do? (with a little help from Einstein)

Previous posts in this 3 part series explored the obstacles to INGO-academic collaboration, and the lessons of systems thinking. This final post suggests some ways forward (with some sarcastic asides from Einstein) Based on all of the above, a number of ideas emerge for consideration by academics, INGOs and funders of research. Suggestions for academics […]

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What does Systems Thinking tell us about how INGOs and Academics can work together better?

Yesterday, I wrote about the obstacles to NGO-academic collaboration. In this second of three posts on the interface between practitioners and researchers, I look at the implications of systems thinking. Some of the problems that arise in the academic–INGO interface stem from overly linear approaches to what is in effect an ideas and knowledge ecosystem. In such […]

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What are the obstacles to collaboration between NGOs and Academics?

I wrote a chapter on the NGO-Academia Interface for the recent IDS publication, The Social Realities of Knowledge for Development, summarized here by James Georgalakis. It’s too long for a blog, but pulls together where I’ve got to on this thorny topic, so over the next few days, I will divvy it up into some […]

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Beer and Tacos with Samir Doshi from USAID

  Had a fun dinner in Brixton market last week with Samir Doshi, a Senior Scientist at USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab, which describes itself as “an innovation hub that takes smart risks to test new ideas and partner within the Agency and with other actors to harness the power of innovative tools and approaches […]

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What does ‘pure research’ on international development look like? Speed-dating at the LSE

Following on from yesterday’s musings about NGO-academic collaboration (or the lack of it), here, for my NGO colleagues is a taste of what my LSE colleagues get up to, published earlier this week on the LSE International Development blog Speed dating rocks. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to get icky. I’m talking about a session at […]

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How can Academics and NGOs work together? Some smart new ideas

Just finished ‘Interaction’, a thought-provoking report on ‘How can academics and the third sector work together to influence policy and practice’. Written by Mark Shucksmith for the Carnegie UK Trust, the report has some good research and new suggestions on a hoary old topic. First up, a striking stat that underlines the imbalance in size […]

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