Dan argues that high-quality implementation of foreign aid programs often requires contextual information that cannot be seen by those in distant headquarters. Tight controls and a focus on reaching pre-set measurable targets often prevent front-line workers from using skill, local knowledge, and creativity to solve problems in ways that maximize the impact of foreign aid. Drawing on a novel database of over 14,000 discrete development projects across nine aid agencies and eight paired case studies of development projects, he argues that aid agencies will often benefit from giving field agents the authority to use their own judgments to guide aid delivery. This “navigation by judgment” is particularly valuable when environments are unpredictable and when accomplishing an aid program’s goals is hard to accurately measure.
Why do so many governments struggle with delivering the most basic, needed services to their people? And how can development practitioners better support the building of state institutions that can better do so?
The Open Gov Hub is pleased to host a book talk on Building State Capability with co-author Michael Woolcock of the World Bank and Harvard Kennedy School, and a panel discussion with diverse perspectives to address these questions.
This book articulates and addresses underlying problems at the very heart of the work of international development (getting at “what is truly the essence of the development problem,” in the words of Francis Fukuyama’s review of the book). It then presents problem driven iterative adaptation (PDIA) as an effective approach to address this field’s essential (even existential) challenge.
Join Hub Member Thousand Currents Communication Director and co-editor, Jennifer Lentfer, for a conversation and celebration. Jennifer will be talking about the lessons from this book, which will be followed by drinks and appetizers to celebrate.
In this new volume of 30 essays, 22 authors explore how responsive grantmaking, focused on grassroots wisdom and close connections, can make a lasting impact in the Global South.
The passion that people who work for nonprofits feel for their work is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, that fervor helps them keep going in the face of difficult challenges, especially in the early stages of their careers. On the other hand, they can be so driven they don’t stop to refuel or smell the proverbial roses or even notice they are experiencing symptoms of burnout.
Based on her new book, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout, Beth Kanter will present an interactive workshop where participants will:
- Take a self-assessment to determine burnout symptoms and opportunities to create self-care habits
- Share tips and methods for self-care activities that go beyond physical health
- Share strategies for bringing a culture of wellbeing into your nonprofit workplace
After Green presents the book's main arguments we will have distinguished development experts comment as panelists. This will be followed by a moderated conversation and audience Q&A on opics such as: how the systems and power approach can be applied in very difficult contexts (fragile or politically restrictive environments), and how funders (private foundations, multilateral institutions and others) can and should best identify and support change makers given this framework.
Can you imagine a future where democracy has evolved into micro-democracy and governments compete for dominance across tens of thousands of tiny jurisdictions in a global election? Imagine any centennial of one hundred thousand citizens able to vote for any government it wants, and governments knitting their scattered constituents together with virtual technology and common laws. That is the reality in Infomocracy, a science fiction political thriller by debut author Malka Older, an experienced humanitarian aid and development worker.
Infomocracy offers a thought experiment for how democracy - and its competitors - can evolve in a global, digital age, and how such adaptations might affect our societies. The Accountability Lab works with people to build accountability mechanisms with their own governments supports grassroots processes driving adaptation in the present. So come join us for a discussion of the book, issues of democracy, participation, and governance, and the future of decision-making for all of us.
This event is being hosted by OpenGov Hub member, Accountability Lab.
- What are some successful 'civic innovations' that meaningfully change how citizens and governments interact?
- How can we breathe new life into struggling democratic societies, locally and globally?
- How can citizens become real change agents in their communities?
- What should democracy in the 21st century look like?
Join our community of civic innovators at the OpenGov Hub to discuss these pressing questions, during an enlightening evening about strengthening civic participation and deliberative democracy.
Dr. Hollie Russon Gilman will present her new book, Democracy Reinvented: Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation in America, the first in-depth study of participatory budgeting (also known as citizen budgeting) in the United States. Participatory budgeting is a process that allows citizens to identify their community needs, design project proposals and directly decide how to spend public funds. While participatory budgeting was first developed in 1989 in Brazil and has spread to 1,500+ cities globally, U.S. cities have only recently begun to experiment with it. There is growing momentum around participatory budgeting in the US and around the world, as more people come to see it as a powerful civic innovation for cities to promote citizen participation and civic engagement.
Hollie will be joined by Tiago Peixoto of the World Bank, who will provide a comparative global perspective on participatory budgeting's impact around the world, and will comment on the role and limitations of digitial tools to spur democratic revival. Nada Zohdy of the OpenGov Hub will facilitate.
Copies of the new book Democracy Reinvented will be available for purchase.
Drinks and snacks will be provided.
About the Presenters
Hollie Russon Gilman is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs where she is co-teaching a new course on Technology and the Future of Governance and Public Policy. She is also a fellow at New America and Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Innovation and Governance. Hollie most recently served as Open Government and Innovation Advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and holds a PhD in Government from Harvard University. She is a founding researcher and organizer for the Open Society Foundation’s Transparency and Accountability Initiative and Harvard’s Gettysburg Project to revitalize 21st Century civic engagement. She has worked as an advisor, researcher, and consultant to leading non-profits and foundations at the intersection of technology and the public sector including the Case Foundation, Center for Global Development, Google.org, and the World Bank Institute.
Tiago Peixoto (PhD) is a Team Lead at the World Bank’s Digital Engagement Unit. Featured in TechCrunch as one of the “20 Most Innovative People in Democracy”, Tiago's work focuses on the intersection of technology, citizen engagement and governance. At the World Bank he works with governments to leverage technology-enabled solutions for better public policies and services. As the lead of the Bank’s Digital Engagement Evaluation Team (DEET), he coordinates evaluation and research activities that apply cutting-edge methodologies to examine the effects of technology on participation, transparency, accountability and government responsiveness. Prior to joining the World Bank, Tiago managed projects and worked as an advisor and consultant for various organizations, such as the European Commission, OECD, United Nations, and the Brazilian and UK governments. A Research Director of the Electronic Democracy Centre at the University of Zurich and faculty member of NYU’s Governance Lab, Tiago holds a PhD and a Masters in Political Science from the European University Institute, as well as a Masters in Organized Collective Action from Sciences-Po Paris. He blogs at DemocracySpot.ne and tweets at @participatory