Pathways to influence and change

We had a discussion based on drawings we all created individually to conceive of the pathways of influence and change that are at our disposal.

Ewen's vision


Mike's vision


Sarah's vision

  • Ewen: perhaps there is a balance between 

Daniel and Hannah's vision

  • How do we change is difficult to predict but we can safely assume that we will achieve some degree of change;
  • Our integrity is important - how do we influence them and how are we influenced by them?
  • This is a 'complexity-aware' vision, not assuming that we know about what will happen.

Michael's vision

  • Some of the work I'm interested and have been doing is around influencing organisations.
  • Our model includes public value, authorising environment (includes resources, government) and capacities (partners, allies, networks);
  • The legitimacy of NGOs comes from their ethical standpoint - but they don't report against this, while the public would much rather they were accountable for the value(s) they stand for.
  • In IKM-2 it would be great to do more research on 'coping with complexity' - understanding how (and influencing) INGOs are dealing with challenges of the 21st century. There is a panicky reaction from many organsiations in recognising their approach and model is out-of-date and cannot cope with complexity. 
  • Ewen: How can we ensure that this work doesn't lead to strategies for long term resilience of INGOs so that they stay --> The public value is important but you still need organisations to mitigate the relations between public and private sector. They would/should become much more Southern in nature. 
  • Hannah: Maybe we need to redefine the private sector by rediscovering the different aspects that private sector companies are taking care of - which are currently taken care of by NGOs. --> The notion of social value is what distinguishes private sector from NGOs.
  • Mike: New funding mechanisms bring about a lot of scope for realignment. 

Robin's vision

  •  Maybe there are more sympathetic donors, international agencies (UNICEF, UNDP), NGOs that are more sympathetic to decentralised accountability, social movements, individual consultants and evaluators, media and public debate ETC.
  • Is it through case studies of how change happens etc.?
  • Are we working on the development commons and collaboration, approaches to plannin and evaluation etc.
  • In UNAid, people were looking for case studies around complexity;
  • Participatory work has got a lot of traction (e.g. participatory work from the World Bank) but it can also be soiled by tokenistic approaches that are not really aiming at transformative change. This lazy participatory work leads people to reject genuine participatory work, implying that we need to have rigorous participatory methods for collecting narratives.
  • Hannah: You can sometimes draw from stories of change etc. to influence skeptics. --> stories of change are interesting and rigorous stories go far. Thatt's related to 'how you are checking the stories back with the speaker' etc.
  • About development commons, how does this go down with the idea of multiple knowledges?


Pete's 3D-vision

  • This is a representation of what I've done over the past 3 years. It represents the groups of people that work in and around (agricultural and rural livelihoods), are connected to each other rather randomly and sometimes unconsciously. Some of the lines are thicker than others;
  • The superstructure is the development cooperation bureaucracy cluster that comes on top. It is on the ground but far remote from the ground. It is quite traditional and they will hear the echoes from the structure.
  • Money goes down through the cone (sometimes in obscene proportions).
  • Robin: are we supposed to carry on ignoring the top? --> Perhaps we have to follow the changes on the ground much more and try and connect the superstructure to it;
  • The tower will topple anyway. The networks on the ground are changing rapidly (e.g. Ghana) and that will influence the nature of organisations and of development.
  • Do the workshops you organise connect these different networks? --> they create stronger threads of connection and amplify the buzz. 
  • The language of 'harnessing knowledge' is not helpful because it suggests we should put all knowledge in one box, as opposed to amplifying the buzz.