Innovation is getting a lot of attention at the moment in development and humanitarian work. Many, including myself, see this as long overdue. But, according to an article in this  weeks Economist, this attention may be misplaced. The piece makes a strong argument for the importance of imitation  in business, and its advantages over innovation. […]

This is the text of an article in the Washington Post by Dominic Basulto about last week’s events in the financial markets. Great stuff. When news first broke Thursday that JPMorgan’s credit derivatives portfolio had sustained a loss of $2 billion, and potentially as much as $5 billion, on trades gone awry, there was an […]

The eurozone, like the rest of the world economy, is a complex networked system. That gives it properties economists rarely consider but which could help us understand the current crisis. This New Scientist ‘Science in Society’ Briefing examines the issues. What is a complex network? Complex networks have many interconnected components which influence each other’s […]

The latest issue of American Scientist features some superb reflections by Robert L Dorit on the limitations of reductionist thinking in the biological sciences. They have clear parallels for social sciences and, by extension, for social policy. Selected extracts are below. Despite Descartes’ contention that we could not distinguish a well-made automaton of an ape from an actual ape […]

Big thanks to Alanna Shaikh and Bill Brieger for feedback and comments. Debates about malaria eradication in the aid blogosphere, along with recent scientific evidence, highlight the urgent need to improve our understanding of the complex dynamics of this terrible affliction and to use it to adapt ongoing eradication programmes. A nearly hopeless case? According […]

…Because of our urgency to end poverty, we act as if development is a construction, a matter of planning and engineering, rather the complex and often opaque set of interactions that we know it to be… This is a excerpt from a recent interview I gave to Dennis Whittle (former CEO of Global Giving). Click […]