When I first started to think about the topic of this article for the Learning and Networking Blog as a guest author I just could not find a creative idea what to write about. Some weeks before, I had made some notes on a piece of paper, but either not very exciting topics or extremely abstract ones (for the readers). The deadline was approaching and I restarted thinking on possible topics and asked my colleagues in the shared office for a small brainstorming exercise. While we were standing around a small bistro table, drinking a cup of coffee, the idea for this blog post was born. (more…)
Archive for January 2011
By Adrian Gnägi
There is growing international frustration with the way the MfDR (managing for development results) agenda developed. In this post, I reflect on a widely read article by Andrew Natsios, former head of USAID.
A few weeks ago IDS organized an event entitled “the big push back meeting”. The aim of the meeting was to galvanize a movement against the “current trend for funding organisations to support only those programmes designed to deliver easily measurable results”. During the event, a recent essay by Andrew Natsios on what has gone bad with the results agenda in aid was frequently referred to. Natsios message is that “Obsessive Measurement Disorder” (OMD, “… an intellectual dysfunction rooted in the notion that counting everything in government programs will produce better policy choices and improved management”, p.4 ) has spread in development agencies to a degree that it nowadays prevents transformational development. He claims that the drive for transparency and accountability has become the major enemy of good development practice, the main obstacle for developmental impact. Natsios is careful in pointing out that the results agenda was well intended and produced some desirable change in aid. His focus is on the loss of balance, though, on the sickening consequences of taking into account what is measured only. (more…)
Kuno, you have always used photography in your professional life. Why do you do this? What is the value added of visual means in international cooperation, compared to classical tools of communication and expression such as written reports, booklets, etc?
- Photos speak a more universal language than formulated text in a specific language. Photos can better be understood by persons not familiar with a professional context. Of course, an image must always be interpreted in relation to the cultural background of the person who looks at it: an Ethiopian child would probably not read the same message from a photo showing a group of young people outside a bar in Berne on a cold winter evening as you or me would. (more…)
By Tobias Sommer
Communities of practice in their traditional definition are every manager’s dream: on individual initiative, experts form informal communities out of pure interest in a subject to exchange their experiences, talk about new challenges and learn from each other, pushing their field forward and developing new solutions. Ideally, all of this would happen alongside normal work, stay out of organisational structures and employment agreements, costing the company not time nor money nor energy – sort of a holy grail of knowledge management.
Sadly, as with anything that seems too good to be true, this hasn’t worked for a long time. In many organisations and companies, informal networks have lost their drive for several reasons, (more…)