Why are there so many mass shootings in the USA?

written by Matt Andrews, Mark Moore, Lant Pritchett and Salimah Samji

This is a crowdsourcing effort to understand why … and to help foster a common response.

Many governments lack the capabilities to play the roles needed for their countries to work well and prosper. These capabilities are often missing because policy-makers cannot agree on the ‘solutions’ they need, and thus fail to invest in the capabilities they must develop to make needed solutions work.

This manifests in policy passivity, where policymakers fail to identify or resource the policy vehicles needed to address social needs. This then leads to problems that persist over time.

Mass shootings are just such problem, persisting—and even growing—in the United States, where government seems to lack the answers—or even capabilities—to respond. Continue reading Why are there so many mass shootings in the USA?

PDIA in Sri Lanka: Learning to Engage New Investors for Economic Diversification – Let’s Go Fishing!

written by Anisha Poobalan

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Meet the Investment Promotions team, a group of Sri Lankan government officials from various departments, experts in differing fields, and all novices at the daunting task ahead of them – attracting foreign investors to Sri Lanka. I had the privilege of working alongside the I-team as a coach and colleague for a year. This post is an introduction to the ‘I team’, the challenges faced, victories celebrated, and the learning and experience gained for all involved, coaches and team members alike. Continue reading PDIA in Sri Lanka: Learning to Engage New Investors for Economic Diversification – Let’s Go Fishing!

Using PDIA to tackle off-budget spending in Liberia

Guest blog by Alieu Fuad Nyei

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Like many other African countries, budget execution is a huge challenge in Liberia. Last fiscal year (July 2016 to June 2017), off-budget spending was over 15% of the approved budget while in-year budgetary transfers have been on the increase, significantly undermining the credibility of the approved budget. This huge ratio of off-budget spending led to cutbacks in on-budget programs in areas such as health and education, either delaying or reducing the scale of medical and educational supplies to schools and hospitals across the country. Efforts over the years to address this problem have failed mainly because they focused more on improving the quality of the budget document and less on the root causes that have allowed this problem to continue unabated. Using the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) approach, we started a 7-month journey to better understand and tackle the problem of spending entities (SEs) not executing their budgets as planned. Continue reading Using PDIA to tackle off-budget spending in Liberia

New connections and better performance in Nigeria’s budget process

written by Matt Andrews (with wise words from Nuhu Mahmud Sani)

A team from Nigeria used the PDIA approach to effect change in their budget process. They had coaching from fantastic colleagues in CABRI (an African intergovernmental organization working on budget reform) who collaborated with us at the Building State Capability Program to expand the reach of PDIA programs across Africa.

This interview is with Nuhu Mahmud Sani, who was a member of the Nigeria team.

Continue reading New connections and better performance in Nigeria’s budget process

Why do we persist so long with a reform approach that does not solve problems?

written by Kate Bridges and Michael Woolcock

In Malawi, efforts at institutional reform have been numerous, earnest and longstanding. Since 1966, there have been more than three times as many World Bank projects with ‘institutional reform’ content  as there have been in any other thematic or sectoral category.

In a recent paper, we argue that these efforts have largely failed. Public scandals such as “Cashgate” – in which about US$ 32 million in government funds was misappropriated between April and September 2013 – are the tip of the iceberg: high profile cases reflecting a logic of corruption that remains unchallenged by reform efforts. Continue reading Why do we persist so long with a reform approach that does not solve problems?

My PDIA Journey

Guest blog by Awa Touray

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The reality of public service is that you are often bogged down with routine tasks that don’t often allow you the room to innovate and initiate. So, in an environment that is very reactionary, the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) project provided an exciting avenue to be proactive in tackling public financial management (PFM) problems. The team spent a 7-month long journey of discovery and learning in tackling the problem of high virements and arrears leading to a misalignment in the appropriated budget and spending. Continue reading My PDIA Journey