PDIA Course Journey: Bringing PDIA to GTAC

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.

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PDIA Course Journey: Going Back in order to go Forward (South Africa)

Guest blog written by Lolo Isabelle Balindile Manzini, Xolani Innocent Mthembu, Katerina Nicolaou-Manias, Godfrey F. Phetla, Vijay Valla

This team works for the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) in 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.

It sounds counter-intuitive to go back over and over again in order to go forward. Going back to the drawing board to re-examine, re-assess, review, refine and revise the problem statement and its root causes is one of the key underpinning principles of Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) on a path towards achieving either policy reform, sustainable development or providing enabling support to small business in the mainstream economy. PDIA fosters constant learning, both on a professional and personal level, while devising context-specific, small, actionable steps that promote success, through identifying pockets of excellence (positive deviance) and then building dynamic sustainable solutions to the problem being addressed.

After a 15-week time-intensive and demanding course both professionally and personally, you cannot possibly walk away without turning all of your pre-conceived ideas of problems in every aspect of your life (and how you problem solve them) upside down and inside out.

The PDIA experience teaches you continual reflection, re-examination, re-assessment, revision and refinement in your approach to addressing all facets of the problem, making progress by learning about the problem and through putting small steps into place to address it, making progress towards solving it.

Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Going Back in order to go Forward (South Africa)