Guest blog by Daniela Espinosa Alarcón, Gabriela Suarez Buitron, Luis Fernando Ochoa, Verónica Villavicencio Pérez
This is a team working at the National Secretariat of Higher Education and Technology in Ecuador. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in December 2018. This is their story.
Developing strategies based on identifying the core complex problem that we have to solve has contributed to a change of collective mind-set. In the public sector in Ecuador we tend to work according to political agendas instead of working towards a long term project. Working towards the solution of a problem gives us a clear path to plan better strategies and better public policies.
Being together as a team in this course has been one of the most important elements to take away. Accomplishing great things alone can be hard. Thus, surrounding ourselves with great colleagues and professionals improved our capacity to build strategies to solve our problem, being more effective and strengthening our professional bonds. Setting clear norms and supporting each other has been key for success.
Finally, we have learned that projects do not have to be perfect from the beginning. In the way many things can go wrong, the important thing is to identify the mistakes and correct them in time. PDIA is a great tool to have this constant exercise of reflection and correction of our plans towards the solution of complex problems. Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Higher Education Access in Ecuador
Guest blog written by Ganga Palakatiya
The Investor Engagement team (I team) consisted of government officials working at the Board of Investment, Sri Lanka, to diversify the economy by engaging new anchor investors and attracting Foreign Direct Investors (FDI) in new sectors. This was part of a PDIA engagement from May 2016 to September 2017.
I team members: L K D Lawrance, Nelson Kumaratunga, Dilip Samarasinghe, Vipula Jayasinge, Ganga Palakatiya, Dhammika Basnayake, Krishnatha Britto, Indunil Perera, Hemadree Naotunna, and Rushda Niyas. This is their story!
Based on the Targeting Team (T team) findings on sector targeting, Solar Panel Manufacturing was identified as a potential sector for investment in Sri Lanka. The “I Team,” consisting of dedicated officers for investment promotion, was assigned to promote Sri Lanka as an attractive destination for this and other priority sectors and attract key “anchor investors.” The timeframe given for this task was period of one year. Solar Panel Manufacturing would be a pioneer sector for Sri Lanka. There were no existing manufacturers in the country except one player who was under construction status. Thus, this was a new technology for the country, unfamiliar to Sri Lanka’s workers, suppliers and government bodies. This formed a challenge for the I Team, but with trainings from CID, the team crafted a four-step strategic approach (Figure 1), combining existing BOI investment promotion methods with a more proactive targeting of key sectors, countries and companies.
Figure 1: Strategic Approach of I Team in Investor Engagement Targeting Sectors for FDI Attraction & Export Promotion
Continue reading PDIA in Sri Lanka: Attracting Anchor Investors in Solar Panel Manufacturing
Guest blog by Coletah Ronah Kibai, Kirk Gibson, Pricillar Napoleon, Andrew Lepani, Hannah Athaliah James, Hercules Jim, Maliwai Sasingian
Many members of this team work for The Voice Inc. in Papua New Guinea. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in December 2018. This is their story.
Young people under 35 make up about 70% of the population yet there is limited attention to how decisions affect young people or on issues specifically related to young people, leading to a range of issues – high rates of youth unemployment, low school completions etc… Our initial problem statement was the lack of effective youth participation in policy development in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Over the course of the PDIA journey, we have evolved with our understanding of the problem.
As a team, we have learnt so much – about trying out the wicked hard problems, doing one iteration action at a time to learning about our team and gaining a deeper understanding of the youth space.
One thing that we know the key learnings from the course (problem construction, deconstruction, designing change space, team norms, iterations etc…) can be used in our own spaces of influence to tackle the complex problems.
Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Lack of Youth Participation in Papua New Guinea
Guest blog written by S. Subash, Vimala Devi Vidya and J. Ravishankar
This is a team of physicians working as District Blood Transfusion Officers for Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Society (TANSACS) living in India. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in December 2018. This is their story.
We enrolled into the PDIA course without knowing what it was and what we needed to do. But the Project Director of TANSACS encouraged us, gave us objectives that we were struggling with and directed us to engage with this new tool/approach. So one fine day, we joined the ride on “Practice of PDIA 2018F” with our objective to solve – How do we address the problems faced by Government blood banks, in acquiring 20% of blood units collected by private blood banks in Tamil Nadu, India.
Government blood banks in Tamil Nadu are facing a shortage of blood units and acquiring 20% of blood units from private blood banks was a strategy to increase the blood stocks. But private blood banks were not willing to part with blood units as it was money for them. They either did not report their blood donation camps or under-reported their collection in camps. Either way, the Government blood banks were suffering from increasing demand and a reducing donor pool.
We started with a 6 member team and early on, we learnt about the big stuck faced by countries aiming for development. The book “Building State Capability” became the bible for the next 15 weeks. We learned new terms like Implementation gap, Isomorphic Mimicry, Premature load bearing and Transplantation. Some of our team members could not spare the time and energy needed for PDIA and bowed out. And this was the ‘first lesson learnt’ for us and we rallied and reinforced ourselves that we will fight to the finish, like plotting the map of 1804!
We found that the problem we were facing belonged to the typology ‘Implementation intensive service delivery’ which was not wicked hard category. We came to know that success of a leadership is not for the face of the leader but through multi-agent leadership. We formed the team norms and started our group activity of engaging our problem. As we constructed and deconstructed our problem and formed our first fishbone diagram, we found that there were many sub-causes that led to our problem. Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Solving the Problem of Blood Transfusion in India
Guest blog written by Ajani Solomon Oluwatimilehin, Jil Faith Bandele, Olusegun Michael Bandele, Victory Oluwafunmilayo Bandele.
This is a multidisciplinary team with different backgrounds living in Nigeria. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in December 2018. This is their story.
The common goal, the ideas shared, the meetings, the arguments, the agreements, the team work, the working deadline, the lessons learned indeed it has been 15 wonderful weeks of the PDIA journey. We are delighted to be sharing our journey blog as we have crossed all weekly hurdles and successfully reached the apex of this 15 weeks course.
When the opportunity to enroll for this course came up, the first challenge was setting up the team, when that problem was solved, most of us in the team where clueless about the course……what is PDIA? What does it entail? 15 whole weeks…..?
Fortunately for us, one member of the team had prior knowledge of PDIA and its application and he encouraged us. In his words he said “PDIA will open your mind’s eye individually and collectively as a team” he also said, “this is the future so grab a seat in the front row.” With these words, we were encouraged and eager to see what the next 15 weeks will bring. We are glad to say that this decision was worth it.
We enrolled in this “Practice of PDIA course with one topic in mind; we aimed to understand in which way PDIA (which stands for Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation) could help us to solve the budget crises in Nigeria which has over the years has become cyclic in nature as we have the same issue every year. Budget crisis in Nigeria is a reoccurring problem which over the years has tremendously slowed down the process of development of the country. Budget creation and approval has always been a tug of war, between the presidency, the executive and legislative arms of government which eventually has a ripple effect on the everyday Nigerian and the system in its entity as the budget has to be approved so that funds for fiscal projects can be released. It is a yearly occurrence and the crisis can last for the greater part of the year, with accusations and counter accusations arising on the budget documents and the budgeting process in its entity. That is why the team is embarking on a problem solving exercise through a data driven budget system based on facts and figures to eliminate areas of contention brought about by intuition, assumptions and gut feeling in the budgeting exercise. So with this in mind, we were more than eager to learn new ways so to break the cycle. Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Budget Crisis in Nigeria
written by: Matt Andrews
The energy sector in Honduras has a history of inefficiency. Financial and energy losses have festered for decades. Various reforms and interventions (often supported by external agents, like this World Bank project) have not solved the problem.
In November 2018 a new unit in the President’s Office helped to mobilize a team of officials to take a fresh look at the problem and address it using the PDIA method—where the focus is on working relentlessly to understand the problem in new ways and to then tackle the problem in a pragmatic, step-by-step manner.
The team initially identified that their problem was to come up with a rapid strategy to liberalize the nation’s energy company. This was largely because an externally inspired law had set the country on a path towards liberalization years ago and officials were wanting to make progress on this path. They believed that the liberalization solution in other countries would solve the problems in Honduras.
Continue reading Empowered to address the power problems in Honduras: A PDIA journey in progress
Guest blog written by Lindiwe Ndlela, Subethri Naidoo, Xavier MacMaster
This team works for 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.
Our PDIA journey started quite innocently with us seeing it as an escape from the routine of the everyday run of the mill challenges of public service. We thought we had a chance to engage with something theoretical, relevant, but ultimately which would remain an intellectual exercise. We are now PDIA converts, for the first time excited about the potential for practical change in our bureaucracy!
During the individual submissions, we were ecstatic about what we were learning. Reality crept in when we received our first group assignment. By assignment 7, frustration set in as we faced the challenge of deconstructing our problem. We learnt that our initial problem construction was inadequate and weak. The reality was hard, particularly in drilling down to answer analytical questions of why it mattered, to whom; and who needed to care more.
We learnt that we could not fast forward to a solution, which is a typical, default behavior. This was new to us. For the first time we had to think deeply, about the need to unpack the problem, using the tools to which were being exposed.
Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Bringing PDIA to GTAC