Innovation is popular in aid at the moment, so much so that there is a steady spate of articles which range from trashing its potential contribution to development through to challenging Western, donor, countries’ assumed roles as the ‘providers’ of innovation. In this post I want to argue that there is a middle  ground between […]

Many people around the world were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Elinor Ostrom in June this year. By way of a tribute, this extended piece brings together some of her ideas on the implications of complexity science for development aid. It draws on material from a series of interviews I conducted with Professor […]

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 a guest post by Frauke de Weijer (pictured), policy and fragile states specialist at the excellent ECDPM think tank.  In a previous post on this blog, Ben explored the potential of complex systems research for thinking about statebuilding and fragility. In this guest post, I would like to take this discussion one step […]

There’s been a lot of interest in the imminent vacancy of World Bank President, with numerous suggestions of qualified individuals who should be on the list. This post looks at one particular aspect of the role which seems to be missing from most of this debate, and which should be high on the list of criteria […]

Influence is a complex process in the development sector. We have known this for some time – the work of the RAPID programme at ODI on understanding how evidence influences policy is very clear on this. But the wider socio-economic system within which development cooperation is embedded is no less difficult to influence.  Many corporations, especially […]