written by Salimah Samji
Over the past several weeks, the most frequently asked question has been, “when is the next PDIA course?”
In the past 4 years, from November 2015 to June 2019, we have offered 11 online courses and trained 1,264 development practitioners in 87 countries!
Our flagship PDIA online course has been an incredible learning journey for us and for our alumni. You can read some of their stories from Uganda, Nepal, Indonesia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Colombia, India, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, South Africa, Cambodia and many more! We even have some stories from alumni who are using PDIA in their day-to-day work more than a year after they completed our course. A true testament to the learning outcome.
While we have achieved so much in a short time, we strongly feel that it is time for us to take a little break to review our course content, results and impact. We plan to return with a new offering in 2020. In the interim, to ensure that you get your weekly fix of PDIA, we are launching a 12-part podcast series on the Practice of PDIA. We will release a new episode every Wednesday. The first episode is below and you can also subscribe and listen on Simplecast, iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify.
Thank you to all the 1,264 alumni who have been real partners in our learning journey. It is your hard work and commitment to making the world a better place that inspires – we could not have done this without you!
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.
In the systems we operate within, who identifies problems? who identifies solutions? and how do these people mobilize the ones who have power and authority? In our research we find that leadership is about multi-agent groups and not single-agent autocrats.
In this video, Matt Andrews, contrasts examples of anti-corruption reforms in Malawi and Botswana to illustrate that authority is cultivated, built in groups, and not around individuals. You can watch the video below or on YouTube.
If you are interested in learning more, read Who Really Leads Development? and Limits of Institutional Reform.
It is important when thinking about building state capability, to first ask, what is the “type of problem” you are trying to solve? In this video, Lant Pritchett, provides a framework to determine the capability required for implementing development projects. He begins by asking whether your task is transaction intensive, followed by whether it is locally discretionary, to better understand if the nature of the task is logistics or implementation intensive. You can watch the video below or on YouTube.
Policy implementation requires agents of organizations who are responsible for implementation, to do the right thing, at the right time, and in the right place. In this video, Lant Pritchett, uses an example of delivering the mail and issuing driver’s licenses to illustrate this point. You can watch the video below or on YouTube.
If you are interested in learning more about the examples used in this video, read Letter Grading Government Efficiency, and Obtaining a Drivers License in India: An Experimental Approach to Studying Corruption.
Development involves change, and change always happens within a context. The focus in development however, is on transplanting successes and adopting ambitious “best practice” modes of governance and public administration, which emphasize form (what organizations look like) and not function (what they actually do). This often provides the financing and legitimacy which allows continued dysfunction, while potentially crowding out space for local initiatives.
In this video, Matt Andrews, uses an example of internal audit reform in Burkina Faso to illustrate that when context is taken into consideration when introducing a reform, it functions even though it might take on a different form. You can watch the video below or on YouTube.
If you are interested in learning more, read Looking Like a State: Techniques of Persistent Failure in State Capability for Implementation and Limits of Institutional Reform.
Happy New Year!
Building State Capability is the Center for International Development at Harvard University’s newest program. Since the inception, the team has published 13 UNU-WIDER working papers and made over 50 presentations around the globe.
As we head into the second year, we are pleased to share our new logo with you – see below. The logo captures some of our key considerations:
- Building metaphor: Building state capability is a complex task which takes time and effort.
- Blocks of diverse shapes and sizes: There are a multitude of tools that you can use. No one size fits all.
- Gaps in the sphere: Local context is paramount. You never start with a clean slate.
- Builders both inside and outside: You need multi-agent leadership at various levels.