Long-form articles and multimedia from practitioners with something to say.

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Seedlings in stony soil: On program experiments in high-risk situations

Little by little, it’s becoming more acceptable in the peacebuilding world to admit that we don’t have the answers.

People now talk regularly about “demand-driven” and “people-centred” approaches. Successive high-level reviews have insisted that success flows from […]

6th October, 2016|Categories: Long-form|Tags: , |

Be more inclusive now: Steps to bring more stakeholders to the table in fragile states

Political inclusivity is the theme of the moment. We’ve seen it driving populist movements from the Philippines to the United States; underlying the “Brexit” debacle in the United Kingdom; and weaving through the UN’s recent reviews of its peacekeeping and peacebuilding work.

But what does it mean for peacekeepers and development specialists that have grown up in a government-to-government world? As expectations steadily grow for involvement of non-elite stakeholders, how do managers need to adapt programme approaches, systems and processes, and organisational culture? […]

1st September, 2016|Categories: Long-form|Tags: , |

How to get decisions on the tough questions, more often

Oftentimes, it feels like political principals are actively resisting making a decision. Delays fritter away precious opportunities, while compromises lead to strategic plans a mile wide and an inch deep. Meanwhile critical weaknesses go unremedied until it’s too late, because no-one wants to face up to the trade-offs.

In such cases, it’s all too easy to yell that leaders should “do their job”. I’ve done this myself—frequently and vigorously. […]

2nd August, 2016|Categories: Long-form|Tags: , , |

Podcast: Managing under pressure

Our guest is Tariq Riebl, who’s worked in humanitarian response for pretty much every major crisis of the last ten years. He reflects on how he got started, what keeps him going, and how to stay oriented in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. […]

25th July, 2016|Categories: Multi-media|Tags: , , |

A buyer’s guide to learning-focused evaluation

Evaluation is much too focused on impact, and not enough on process. This is counter-intuitive, and yet is true.

Imagine if Apple’s designers collected usability feedback on iPhones – their ease of use, durability, merits over other products. Then they took the forms and handed them out to workers on the factory floors in Shenzhen that produce the components. […]

11th July, 2016|Categories: Long-form|Tags: , |

How stabilisation failed in the Congo, in six short videos

Georges Clemenceau once quipped that war is too important a subject to be left to the generals. The same is true for efforts to reshape and stabilise countries in crisis.

The stakes are very high and our choices about how to engage are not esoteric, nor hugely technical in nature. They would benefit from informed debate in the media, on charitable boards, and in parliamentary institutions. […]

31st May, 2016|Categories: Multi-media|Tags: , , , , |
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