PDIA Course Journey: Enhancing Women’s participation in Nigeria

Guest blog written by Adetunde Ademefun, Lois Chinedu, and Suleiman Oluwatosin

This team is made up of of experienced Programme, Research and Communication Staff and Assistants who work at the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF). They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in December 2018. This is their story.

Amazingly, when we were asked to be part of the PDIA course and were told the members of our team, concerns were raised about tight schedules, especially how in Nigeria, we are preparing for the elections and it would not be seemingly possible to dedicate time for meetings to ensure a coordinated flow of information. But, we did it!

For a fact, this course has appeared to be both a fascinating and an emerging field. The PDIA course was very well done and we enjoyed it. The instructors were really good and instrumental to our success as a team. The first part of this course that really brought us closer as a Team was Module Five where, we learnt about “People as the Source of Capability”. This particular module helped reinforce the importance of team work in an organisation

Two very vital modules that got our critical thinking caps on, and as such revealed to us that we have not completely explored all the alternatives to solving one of the Key Goals of our Organisation (Enhancing Women’s Participation in Governance) were Deconstructing Problems  and Identifying the Change space. It was while studying this module that we identified entry points to solving problems such as advocating through lobbying, creating voter sensitization programmes through policy makers, etc. Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Enhancing Women’s participation in Nigeria

PDIAtoolkit now available in Spanish!

At Building State Capability, we are excited to see the PDIA methodology being tested and adapted in many countries around the world. In order to make our videos and materials more accessible, we have started translating them into other languages, most recently in Spanish.

In January this year, we were approached by a former HKS student, Marco Midence, who was teaching a course for master’s degree students at UNITEC in Honduras. The purpose of the course is to advise students on their applied research graduation projects. He was interested in using the PDIA approach as a main part of the course. We had a draft version of our PDIAtoolkit translated in Spanish and thought this would be a great opportunity to test it out.

So … for the past two months, the 15 students have been using the PDIA tools to break down their problems, take action, and continuously learn more about the root causes of the problems. The projects are diverse, covering topics such as Honduras’ coffee sector, an entrepreneurship hub, and solar energy.

Continue reading PDIAtoolkit now available in Spanish!

PDIA Course Journey: Going Back in order to go Forward (South Africa)

Guest blog written by Lolo Isabelle Balindile Manzini, Xolani Innocent Mthembu, Katerina Nicolaou-Manias, Godfrey F. Phetla, Vijay Valla

This team works for the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) in the Government of South Africa. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in December 2018. This is their story.

It sounds counter-intuitive to go back over and over again in order to go forward. Going back to the drawing board to re-examine, re-assess, review, refine and revise the problem statement and its root causes is one of the key underpinning principles of Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) on a path towards achieving either policy reform, sustainable development or providing enabling support to small business in the mainstream economy. PDIA fosters constant learning, both on a professional and personal level, while devising context-specific, small, actionable steps that promote success, through identifying pockets of excellence (positive deviance) and then building dynamic sustainable solutions to the problem being addressed.

After a 15-week time-intensive and demanding course both professionally and personally, you cannot possibly walk away without turning all of your pre-conceived ideas of problems in every aspect of your life (and how you problem solve them) upside down and inside out.

The PDIA experience teaches you continual reflection, re-examination, re-assessment, revision and refinement in your approach to addressing all facets of the problem, making progress by learning about the problem and through putting small steps into place to address it, making progress towards solving it.

Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Going Back in order to go Forward (South Africa)

PDIA Course Journey: CFI in Cambodia

Guest blog written by Lee Henley, Vann Sokha, Jenny Ciucci, Zoey Henley

This team successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in December 2018. This is their story.

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CFI is a small NGO in a rural part of Battambang Cambodia, we work with some of the most resource poor children in Cambodia. We have worked in this community for ten years and we wanted to ensure that our NGO could support generations of children and their families to come. As an organization we had been giving a lot of thought to financial sustainability but we didn’t know where or how to get started, but had seen many other NGOs start successful social enterprises and we thought that must be our answer! We enrolled in the online PDIA course with a vision of our successful sustainable future, ready to use our new found skills to put our ready-made solution into action.

Very quickly we learnt that maybe our problem wasn’t so clear cut as we thought. We were faced with a wicked hard problem without a clear plan in place; ……..enter PDIA.

Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: CFI in Cambodia

Why do public policies fail? Categorizing the challenges

written by Matt Andrews

Governments—and other public policy organizations—undertake many different tasks, implementing a diverse set of policies and projects. Many of these policies and projects are not considered successful. My recent blog post noted that failure occurs more often than anyone would likely consider optimal.

There are many reasons for policy failure, and my own research on this topic is well underway: I have been analyzing a sample of fifty case studies of policy failures to identify reasons for failure and will be discussing findings in a working paper coming soon.  As I work, I am always trying to learn from the thoughts and analysis of others, and to find good teaching materials to use in engaging executives on the topic (materials that are easy to read, and offer pragmatic views that have some evidentiary backing in the broader literature).

Continue reading Why do public policies fail? Categorizing the challenges

PDIA Course: 1,000+ alumni in 3 years

written by Salimah Samji

Wow – I can’t believe that we’ve trained 1,112 development practitioners in 86 countries through our free PDIA online course! When we first launched this course in November 2015, we thought that training 50 people would be wildly successful. So my friends – the state of the PDIA course is strong!

I want to pick up where I left off, exactly a year ago, when I shared what we had learned.

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Continue reading PDIA Course: 1,000+ alumni in 3 years

10 new things we did in 2018

written by Salimah Samji

It’s February and 2018 feels like a long time ago!

Last year, I wrote my first annual stock taking blog and I’ve been meaning to write a follow up since early January, but 2019 has been off to an incredibly busy start.

As you may know, we are small team of doers who are constantly testing, learning, reflecting, and adapting our approach – essentially PDIAing our way forward, often while charting new waters. The year 2018 was very productive and rather than tell you everything we did, I thought I would highlight the 10 new things we did. Without further ado … Continue reading 10 new things we did in 2018