Ben Ramalingam is an independent researcher, consultant and writer specialising on international development and humanitarian issues.

He has worked with and advised leading development and humanitarian organisations including UN bodies, NGOs, the Red Cross movement, and government agencies. He is Chair of the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, the first mechanism dedicated to supporting innovation in international disaster response, which he designed and co-founded.

Ben currently holds honorary and visiting positions at the London School of Economics, the Overseas Development Institute, the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University and the Royal Veterinary College.

Join the conversation! 13 Comments

  1. Hi Ben:
    I am pleased to see this blog. I’ll spread the voice as much as I can.
    Practical Action

  2. Dear Ben,

    Thank you for starting this blog! I have posted a link from my blogsite to yours.

    Gave you ever read “the origin of wealth” by Eric Beinhocker? It is a must read!

    Best wishes,

    Shawn Cunningham

  3. Your blog is excellent. I m gonna bookmark, gracias. Keep working on blog.

  4. Pleased to find your blog and look forward to reading through it.

  5. Dear Ben Ramalingam,
    As part of our effort to gather information and resources, the Governance Assessment Portal is watching
    the Aid on the Edge of Chaos blog and newsfeed for news items relevant to country led democratic
    governance assessments. When we find such an item, we will post a link to it, accompanied by a brief
    description, the posting date and a reference to Aid on the Edge of Chaos. We hope that this will
    provide a valuable resource to actors working with governance assessment at the country level, as well
    as drive traffic to your site and the important work to be found there.
    Aid on the Edge of Chaos is one of nearly 200 news sources currently being scanned as part of our effort
    to provide a one-stop-shop for democratic governance assessments as a mechanism for strengthening
    accountability and participation at the country level. The GAP news scan will be officially launched in
    coming weeks, but is currently up and running, so please do not hesitate to browse articles or sign up for
    an rss feed at http://gaportal.org/support/news-and-media.
    If you would like additional information, to suggest additional news sources, or to set up a link to the
    GAP on the Aid on the Edge of Chaos site, please do not hesitate to get in touch at
    [email protected].
    Best Regards,
    Christopher Wilson
    Information Consultant
    Governance Assessment Portal (http://gaportal.org/)
    UNDP Oslo Governance Centre
    United Nations Development Programme
    Visit: Inkognitogata 37, 0256 Oslo, Norway
    Mail: Postboks 2847, Solli, 0204 Oslo, Norway
    [email protected]
    Tel: +47 2347 1618 / Cell: +47 9062 9020
    Skype: cosgrovedent
    The Governance Assessment Portal is a virtual resource centre for indicators, assessment frameworks
    and country studies. Here you can find data, articles, tools, statistics and case studies on measuring
    democratic governance. Get in contact with international experts and initiatives. Learn how to develop
    an index to monitor performance of public administration, sectors and services, where to find surveys
    for evaluating corruption, how to conduct a baseline for democracy, when to advocate for evidence
    based policy reform on local governance and decentralization in your country, and more

  6. How-matters.org explores the skills and knowledge needed by all international “do-gooders” to truly raise the level of human dignity within international assistance and to put real resources behind local means of overcoming obstacles. Understanding and feeling comfortable with the inherent complexity in our field is a big part of this. I have posted a link from my blogsite to yours and would appreciate if you’d take the time to look over mine.

    Simply put, my perspective is…aid effectiveness is not about what we do, but HOW we do it.

  7. Thank you for blogging on this topic. I’m a member of a learning community called OpenAgile that is trying to extend Agile practices to new fields of endeavour. Agile has its roots in complexity science, but, because of the popularity of methodologies like Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP), has traditionally been locked into working on software development. We believe it can go much further. If you want to see what we’ve been doing, please check out http://www.openagile.com
    Personally, I’m quite interested in the application of OpenAgile, and in complexity sciences in general, to work in the field of social entrepreneurship. I look forward to reading your blog.

  8. We would be glad to share articles, news, research, network and potential new projects around complexity management.

    If we are an early stage organization, we already have explored some aspect of complexity into different domains such as :

    – Project Management
    – Treatment of biomass
    – Rock blasting
    – Traffic system ( air, human )
    – etc …


  9. Ben,

    Excited to stumble across your blog through a series of posts on aid & complexity.

    I’m actually working on a project that focuses on systems thinking, complex problems, and collaborative problem solving.

    I’d love to use up 30 minutes of your time on Skype if that’s possible (sorry for posting here, I didn’t see a contact button).

    More information on the project:

    Thank you, in advance, for your time and attention.

  10. Ben,

    I find your blog quite refreshing. Although I still have to go through all of your posts, I feel like creating a dialogue and a space for sharing is one step for the aid agencies to help: (a) manage and be transparent about the different kinds of risk failures inherent to development projects and (b) become problem solvers instead of problem tamers.

    I am part of an initiative based out of Amsterdam that is trying to create that dialogue and get development organisations to share with each other, but also celebrate the projects with different outcomes than originally planned for. We are calling it The Brilliant Failures, see: http://www.brilliantfailures.com/awardDC



  11. Hi Ben,

    I am writing from DevEd, an NGO focusing on relevant education about a blog that our NGO DevEd runs on education and overseas development.

    You can view the blog here: http://deved.org/blog/category/blog

    We have featured articles from well known TED talkers such as Alison
    Carr Chellman, Arvid Gupta and Sir Ken Robinson and humanitarian
    workers such as Mukesh Kapila CBE. We will be posting a blog this
    Monday from Moushira Khattab. I wanted to ask whether you would be
    interested in writing a short article on education for our blog?
    Or if it would be possible to include us on your blog roll?

    We have made a video on our NGO that you can view here:

    Thanks and best wishes, Emanuel

  12. Hi ben,

    thanks for your blog. As a volunteer in tonga, struggling with the concept of ‘development’ your blog brings a refreshing and inspiring look at what AID really is

  13. Ben – meant to leave this link embedded in my other comment. I guess the following paper is one that you’ve come across in your work ?: The following is the established format for referencing this article:
    Walker, B., C. S. Holling, S. R. Carpenter, and A. Kinzig. 2004. Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social–ecological systems. Ecology and Society 9(2): 5. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol9/iss2/art5/


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