Episode 4: Interview with Jeanne Downing

We have just published this interview with Jeanne Downing of USAID under our Podcast page.

Jeanne Downing, Senior Enterprise Development Advisor, Office of Microenterprise Development, USAID talks about the discussions she and her colleagues have within USAID about the necessity of using a systemic approach in development. She mentions the need to switch away from linear approaches towards approaches that are better able to capture the complexities of real world phenomena, especially when taking into account the new focus on resilience, which puts a further layer of complexity on the work in market systems. With regard to Monitoring and Evaluation frameworks, Jeanne gives examples of work that has already been done to make them more systemic, for example the Degrees of Evidence paper. M&E in complex systems mean accepting that the route a project takes from the baseline to the projected endline cannot be planned or predicted. Projects that take a facilitation approach need to be nimble and adaptable, which ultimately translates into increased sustainability. Jeanne also stresses the importance of collaborative learning between practitioners, donors, and researchers.

This episode is part of the Systemic M&E series and was produced in partnership with the SEEP Network.

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Episode 3: Interview with Dave Snowden

We have just published this interview with Dave Snowden under our Podcast page.

In this episode, Marcus Jenal interviews Dave Snowden. The podcast explores the recognition that development takes place in a dynamic, complex system and the resulting consequences for monitoring and evaluation frameworks. Current monitoring and evaluation frameworks are built around predefined outcomes and based on assumptions of causal, linear, and attributable connections between a project’s activities and changes at its outcome and impact levels.

Based on complex systems research, these assumptions tend not to reflect the reality of complex systems, such as markets or communities. Dave Snowden introduces emerging theories and tools that allow us to embrace complexity and manage development projects in a way that adapts to realities in complex systems. He discusses possible ways to design monitoring systems, and provides guidance on project design that is informed by scientific research in the field of complex systems.

This episode is part of the Systemic M&E series and was produced in partnership with the SEEP Network.

Episode 2: Interview with Shamim Bodhanya

In the episode Marcus interviews Dr. Shamim Bodhanya. The podcast explores the origins of complex adaptive systems research and the application of its findings to development work. Bodhanya explains the characteristics of complex adaptive systems and their consequences in social systems such as the economy. He stresses the need to include multiple perspectives to develop a systemic view on markets and allow for solutions from within the system to involve rather than prescribe top-down solutions. In this sense, he points out, development project need to be co-constructed by multiple stakeholders. Project goals should not be predefined and be flexible enough to be able to change as the project traverses though time.

This episode was produced in partnership with the SEEPnetwork.

First episode of Systemic Insight podcast series is available

The first episode of the Systemic Insight podcast series is available for download on the podcast page. In this first episode we set the scene for the series. We look at what we mean with systems thinking and how it relates to economic development. The topic of complexity is also introduced in a basic way.