It is important to understand why development interventions succeed and why they fail. In this video, Lant Pritchett uses a 2×2 matrix to illustrate that PDIA is an attempt to move from failed mimics to effective innovators. You can watch the video below or on YouTube.
Today we are proud to launch the next set of BSC videos. These build upon the first 13 videos and provide more details about our approach. We will be releasing 22 videos over the next few months. We hope you enjoy them!
One question we often hear after making a presentation on PDIA is, “this sounds like X ..” It is thus important to distinguish our approach from that of others. In this video, Michael Woolcock, highlights two ways in which PDIA is different from other similar sounding approaches: (i) it moves from a critique to a response, and (ii) it enables a system to be more functional. You can watch the video below or on YouTube.
10 years ago, the World Development Report (WDR) 2004 entitled Making Services Work for Poor People, marked a watershed moment in the development agenda. It recognized that politics and accountability are crucial to improving services. Furthermore, it shifted the focus from measuring inputs to outputs.
Earlier this month, ODI and the World Bank jointly organized a 10th year anniversary conference to celebrate the achievements over the last decade and to discuss what remains to be done. You can browse the multimedia summary of the event.
In the opening plenary, Shanta Devarajan stated that the WDR 2004 changed the nature of the conversation by recognizing that: (i) services fail poor people, (ii) money is not the solution, and (iii) “the solution” is not the solution.
What have we learned?
- Context Matters: We got better at describing service delivery problems but not at improving services. Ruth Levine in her interview acknowledged that we have learned how to measure how significant the problem is and to unpack the dimensions of service delivery quality. But we have not learned anything generalizable because context matters.
- Politics Matters: Marta Foresti noted that ‘politics is not just a problem it’s also part of the solution.’ Working around politics rather than with it, does not work.
- Connections Matter: In her reflections, Leni Wild wrote – we are dealing with systems and networks through which a much wider set of stakeholders are connected. So the nature of the connections matters, in terms of power balances, incentives and norms. This is similar to what Matt Andrews calls multi-agent leadership.
- Motivating actors to do the right thing is much harder in practice, said Rakesh Rajani in his interview.
- Individual capacity ≠ organizational capability: Lant Pritchett explained the difference in his interview.
So what will it take to deliver services for the poor?
- Experimentation: Ruth Levine stressed the need to focus on organizations, individuals embedded in local circumstances/context and enabling local providers to experiment and learn what works in their context. She added, “it is a long complicated road.”
- Humility, Curiosity and Openness: Rakesh Rajani stated that we have to be able to know we don’t have all the answers. It is unlikely to work the first time and so we need to have the courage to tweak, listen to others and to learn from failure. Asking questions, trying, iterating, struggling and learning, rather than having solutions, is key.
- Commitment at every level, political, organizational and individual.
- Willingness to acknowledge and learn from failure.
These sound a lot like PDIA principles …
Image reproduced from a blog on writing and inspiration: http://inkspirationalmessages.com/2012/02/10371/
Innovations and adaptations that occur in one place often need to be scaled in order to lead to system-level change. However, in development, the road from small to big is challenging and rife with pitfalls. In this last of the first BSC video series, Michael Woolcock, discusses our approach to building state capability, which is built around having communities of practice around the world. These are initially small teams within organizations that have the authority, latitude, opportunity and resources to tackle problems they encounter by learning, iterating and adapting. You can watch the video below or on YouTube.
Stay tuned for more BSC videos coming soon.
Maintaining your support through a change process is often a challenging task which requires time and effort. In this video, Matt Andrews, explains how one does not only have to maintain the initial authorization, but also expand the number of actors who provide authorization, thus increasing the legitimacy of the project or reform. You can watch the video below or on YouTube.
If you are interested in learning more, read Escaping Capability Traps through Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) and Limits of Institutional Reform.
Organizations have multiple objectives. In public organizations, the search for legitimacy often clashes with the search for functionality. This is mainly because rewards are geared around form and not function. In this video, Matt Andrews, talks about how you can get both legitimacy and functionality at the same time. You can watch the video below or on YouTube.
If you are interested in learning more, read It’s All About MeE: Using Structured Experiential Learning (‘e’) to Crawl the Design Space, Looking Like a State: Techniques of Persistent Failure in State Capability for Implementation and Escaping Capability Traps through Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA).
The design space of actual development projects is complex, granular, and nuanced. In this video, Lant Pritchett, uses a simple example of a design space for teacher training to illustrate this point. You can watch the video below or on YouTube.
If you are interested in learning more, read It’s All About MeE: Using Structured Experiential Learning (‘e’) to Crawl the Design Space.