Fragile states are growing in importance on the development and humanitarian  agenda. One of the most concrete outcomes of last years aid summit in Busan was the New Deal for fragile states. Most major donors are looking to increase their presence and effort in fragile states, and implementing agencies are having to work out what […]

One of the areas where complexity thinking has entered the mainstream of development policy and practice is in resilience thinking. Much of this work owes a debt to C.S. ‘Buzz’ Holling, whose work on resilience of ecologies in the 1970s provided the intellectual underpinning to much recent work. Holling was recently awarded an honorary doctorate […]

Last week saw a remarkable meeting in Washington, bringing together USAID staff with scientists and practitioners working on complex systems. This post reflects on the event and outlines some of the emerging lessons. Background There have been a number of meetings on the topic of complexity and development in different locations around the world in […]

The international development sector has been in a tug of war around the ‘results agenda’ for the past few months. This post explores the tensions and suggests a way to bring the sides together by focusing on the relevance and appropriateness of different approaches.* I: The Results Tug of War Development results is one of many […]

Earlier this week Tim Harford, also known as the Undercover Economist, gave a fantastic talk at ODI on the topic of ‘Development as Trial and Error’. Drawing on his latest book, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, Tim provided the audience with a compelling account of the need for a different way of thinking […]

Following on from the recent UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS) workshop on complexity science and international development, I shared some thoughts on the day and the ways forward. This is a cross-post from the UKCDS website. Last month the UK Collaborative for Development Sciences held a workshop to explore the potential of complexity science for international […]