About this courseSkip About this course
This course is part of the Leadership in Global Development MicroMasters program. In order to get the most out of this course, we recommend that you have experience working in the development sector or a strong interest in this area. We also recommend that you complete the other three courses that make up the Leadership in Global Development MicroMasters program: Leaders in Global Development, The Science and Practice of Sustainable Development and Critical Development Perspectives.
Being a leader in development means working in complex and challenging contexts. Projects rarely run as planned, and managers need to be flexible and adaptive in their approach.
This course will teach you the skills to tackle complex problems in developing - and developed - countries. You will learn how problems in development contexts are always complex - no matter how simple they may appear at first. You will learn strategies for how to dig deeper into the problem and come up with solutions that address the real issues. You will learn techniques and practical tools for understanding local context, and ways to lead effectively. This course will also expose you to the disconnect between policy and practice.
To complement our lecture videos, and enhance your learning, we have included interviews with real world, experienced and development practitioners. Some of the practitioners we interview include: David Booth, Alina Rocha Menocal, Arnaldo Pellini and Louise Shaxton from the Overseas Development Institute; Scott Guggenheim (AusAID-Indonesia Partnership Program); and Jaime Faustino (The Asia Foundation).
Uncertainty is a way of life in development, and leaders need the skills to adapt and excel in this space. Join us to learn effective strategies for being an adaptive leader in development.
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- To appreciate the fundamental mismatch between policy and practice in development
- To understand the importance of having context, and in finding local solutions to local problems
- Skills in adaptive development practice, in the cycles of experimentation, learning, iteration and adaptation
- To discern strategies to overcome political challenges and broker new collaborations
- To comprehend how to measure progress and manage performance when working adaptively
- To diffuse results from practice, by taking them to scale and influencing policy
In this module we begin to unpack the complex nature of development problems. We will begin to see why solutions that do not take complexity into account often fail and sometimes cause harm.
Module 2: The Disconnect
Why do development interventions often fail? In Module 2 we will explore the disconnect that often exists between policy and practice, and analyse how common tools, such as logical frameworks, can add to this disconnect.
Module 3: Complexity in Development
In this module we will learn about key complexity concepts and understand how they can be used to better 'see' and account for complex institutional reality.
Module 4: Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation
Module 4 introduces Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA), a framework for tackling complex problems developed by Harvard Kennedy School researchers Matt Andrews, Lant Pritchett and Michael Woolcock.
Module 5: More PDIA
PDIA is further expanded on in Module 5.
Module 6: Theory of Change and Development Evaluation
Module 6 examines some practical evaluation frameworks that can be used for monitoring and evaluating development interventions. These frameworks attempt to take complexity and systems thinking into account.
Module 7: Wicked Problems and Institutional Collaboration
In this module we look at how institutional collaboration can be used as a way of tackling wicked problems.
Module 8: Thinking and Working Politically
In Module 8 we will develop an understanding of how politics is fundamental to any societal change process.
Module 9: Leading Adaptively
In this module we will learn about the skills and knowledge you will need to be an adaptive leader and development entrepreneur.
The 'From the Leaders' sections in this course
We have collected some amazing interviews with practitioners worldwide who are leaders in the field of adaptive practice. Some of these are quite long, but we believe that the knowledge imparted by the leaders will be extremely valuable to your learning in this field. You will not be assessed on this content, but we encourage you to watch these and gain some really great insights into adaptive practice in the real world.
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Who can take this course?
Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. EdX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.