Download the PDIA Practitioner Guide „Building State Capabilities“ for free

We want to put some attention to the remarkable work of the team that has initiated the important principles of the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA). Our center is convinced that PDIA will become an important standard in capability development in the near future. To support practitioners to catch the ideas of PDIA and to put it into practice the authors Matt Andrews, Lant Pritchett and Michael Woolcock have published the book Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action. PDIA is a problem driven and result oriented approach with great relevance in many development programmes. To make this knowledge available also in low income countries tha authors negotiated with their publisher to offer the ebook as free download. This is a very remarkable decision as according to our expertise the ideas of their work will help to increase the impact of many capability development initiatives: to involve as many people as possible in following PDIA deserves to be highly recognized!

For more information visit the website of the Building State Capability at Harvard University.


Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action

Download the ebook for free

Matt Andrews, Lant Pritchett and Michael Woolcock
Oxford University Press, 2017

Governments play a major role in the development process, constantly introducing reforms and policies to achieve developmental objectives. Many of these interventions have limited impact, however; schools get built but children don’t learn, IT systems are introduced but not used, plans are written but not implemented. These achievement deficiencies reveal gaps in capabilities, and weaknesses in the process of building state capability.

This book addresses these weaknesses and gaps. It provides evidence of the capability shortfalls that currently exist in many countries, analyses this evidence and identifies capability traps that hold many governments back—particularly related to isomorphic mimicry and premature load-bearing. The book then describes a process that governments can use to escape these capability traps. Called PDIA (Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation), this process empowers people working in governments to find and fit solutions to the problems they face. This process is explained in a practical manner so that readers can actually apply tools and ideas to the capability challenges they face in their own contexts. These applications will help readers implement policies and reforms that have more impact than those of the past.

The book is available for purchase from Oxford University Press (UK, USA) or Amazon (UK, USA). The book is also available as a free download under a Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Creative Commons License

 

Self Commitment to the “Doing Development Differently Manifesto” and to PDIA Principles

Dr. Boronowsky signed on behalf of the Innovation Capability Center at Bremen University the “Doing Development Differently (DDD) Manifesto”. The Manifesto is a statement of the Doing Development Differently workshop. The workshop was hosted in October 2014 by the Building State Capability (BSC) program at the Center for International Development at Harvard University, and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

The Innovation Capability Center is fully agreeing to the common principles of successful initiatives addressed in this manifesto:

  • They focus on solving local problems that are debated, defined and refined by local people in an ongoing process.
  • They are legitimised at all levels (political, managerial and social), building ownership and momentum throughout the process to be ‘locally owned’ in reality (not just on paper).
  • They work through local conveners who mobilise all those with a stake in progress (in both formal and informal coalitions and teams) to tackle common problems and introduce relevant change.
  • They blend design and implementation through rapid cycles of planning, action, reflection and revision (drawing on local knowledge, feedback and energy) to foster learning from both success and failure.
  • They manage risks by making ‘small bets’: pursuing activities with promise and dropping others.
  • They foster real results – real solutions to real problems that have real impact: they build trust, empower people and promote sustainability.

Our center wants to be member of the emerging community of development practitioners and observers, that believes that development initiatives can – and must – have greater impact. We pledge to apply these principles in our own efforts to pursue, promote and facilitate development progress, to document new approaches, to spell out their practical implications and to foster their refinement and wider adoption.

Furthermore, we want to point out the importance of an approach called Process Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) for building and developing state capabilities. PDIA is the building block of a fast growing initiative “Building State Capability” that is currently also supported by World Bank. We considerate it the future in building capability and will give a deeper analysis of PDIA and its adaptation to the domain “building innovation capability” in our next blog posting.

The development approaches of our center in the field of knowledge transfer, research valorization and innovation are highly in line with the ideas of PDIA. We understand all developments as highly contextualized with a strong need for local solutions of problems that require exploration, experimentation and failures as well. We do not believe that brute force copies of external best practices, tons of foreign “lecture style” trainings or huge investments in infrastructure without real adaptation to the local systems will help to generate sustainable societal and economic impact of research driven activities.

The tools and methods of the Innovation Capability Center follow the ideals addressed in the DDD-Manifesto and they are conformant to the principles of PDIA. They are supporting iterative continuous management approaches that can be adapted to any maturity level of organizations and are driven in a bottom up fashion, like the ISO/IEC standard conformant process reference model innoSPICE. Our center wants to complement input-output driven approaches. According to our experiences,  conventional evaluation methods might  be misleading for developing innovation systems. We provide sensitive instruments in capability development which feed small initiatives with space and conditions they need to grow.

The Innovation Capability center is committed to spread the word and the necessity of the principles of the DDD-Manifesto, approaches like PDIA, CLA and Adaptive Management among their partners and beyond. We want to be a part of an equal minded community digging deeper and do not stop until problems are solved in the real world and not only in papers!

The management team of the Innovation Capability Center at Bremen University

Dr. Michael Boronowsky & Tanja Woronowicz