We’ve been working on new approaches to international development, based on the latest thinking about our role in a changing and dynamic world.

Through this effort, we are now much clearer on what we should be prioritising going forward.

1. Individuals and relationships over processes and tools and we are developing a number of mandatory processes and tools for managing those individuals and relationships

2. Responding to change and context rather than following strict plans provided detailed plans are in place to respond to all possible changes and contexts, and they are always followed precisely 

3. Ownership and participation instead of conditions and controls so long as any ownership is strictly conditional and participation is highly controlled

4. Fostering innovations rather than delivering out-of-the-box solutions albeit within the bounds of our well-established best practices

5. Openness and transparency instead of secrecy and closure as long as we still get to choose what to be open and transparent about    

6. Evidence and results over politics and vested interests but we must be free to select evidence and results on the basis of politics and interests

7. Systemic thinking over reductionist approaches as long as all analysis can be boiled down to the one or two critical factors that matter most to us

In sum, while the ideas on the left sound nice in theory, we are an international development agency, and there is no way we are ever going to give up the things on the right.

(Inspired and adopted from Kerry Buckley)

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  1. […] A manifesto for half-arsed development reforms by Ben Ramalingam E.g. “6. Evidence and results over politics and vested interests but we […]

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About Ben Ramalingam

I am a researcher and writer specialising on international development and humanitarian issues. I am currently working on a number of consulting and advisory assignments for international agencies. I am also writing a book on complexity sciences and international aid which will be published by Oxford University Press. I hold Senior Research Associate and Visiting Fellow positions at the Institute of Development Studies, the Overseas Development Institute, and the London School of Economics.

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Organisations, Public Policy