PDIA: is not about perpetual muddling (Part 4/4)

written by Matt Andrews

This is the last of the four common excuses that I hear about why PDIA cannot be done in development. If you are interested, you can read the first, second and third one.

Excuse 4: International development experts often tell me that PDIA is not possible because it implies that we are always muddling through. “How do I sell a muddled reform project ?”

I firmly believe that PDIA has its most value when we are in complex settings dealing with complex problems, where we don’t necessarily know the solutions or how to implement the solutions. In such situations one needs a process of finding and fitting relevant solutions that are unknown at first. This is where PDIA comes in and is useful .

If PDIA is used at the start of reforms in such contexts, one can find and fit solutions that have functional impact. A more traditional project process can be used once one knows (at least to some degree) what to do and how to do it. So you don’t need to muddle along forever… And PDIA is not about perpetual muddling – it is about structured, experiential learning.

PDIA4

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