Syndicate content

Harvard University

The Challege of Doing Development Differently

Suvojit Chattopadhyay's picture

The Doing Development Differently workshop was organised by the Building State Capacity gang at Harvard’s Center for International Development and the Overseas Development Institute; read more about the workshop here. I was unfortunately able to only attend Day 1 and a tiny bit on Day 2 but caught up through all the videos that are online. See Day 1 summary; and Day 2 summary
 
Here are some thoughts:

  1. Doing Development Differently (DDD) is the big picture: DDD is about the details and the beauty of innovation and creativity on the ground, but, more importantly, it is about the big picture. As the workshop signalled (at least) to me, the battleground for DDD conspirators/crusaders is the top table, with donors and policymakers, the moneybags, decision-makers and influencers. Expressed in an extremely clichéd way, the goal ought to be to facilitate ‘d’ on the ground by changing the rules of the ‘D’ game. This makes sense to me. Gathering and influencing activists and local champions is a necessary but not sufficient condition for real change. At the same time, this workshop definitely missed a trick by not having participants from governments (I am sure the organizers considered this long and hard), which in many middle- income countries have come to be all of the above actors – the moneybags, the policy/decision-makers, etc. For DDD thinking to go beyond just aid, it is important that governments are included in these conversations.

Subduing the Media for Dummies

Naniette Coleman's picture

“Propaganda must be centralized, planned, and executed by a single authority.

To get attention, propaganda is best distributed through an entertaining communication medium.

Propaganda must be carefully timed for maximum effect.

Propaganda is a tool of social control, designed to comfort the public in times of stress."

--Goebbel's Principles of Propaganda-- 

The Primacy of the Individual, Bah Humbug!

Naniette Coleman's picture

Have you put on weight lately? Are you dating someone who knows a friend or two of yours? Are you a little happier or sadder and cannot figure out why? According to authors Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD and James H. Fowler, PhD, it may be your network stupid. In Connected, Christakis and Fowler set out to overturn the notion of the “primacy of the individual.” They suggest that people we do not even see can influence us in ways previously unimagined. Life many not be solely based on me, myself and my decisions. The beginning and end to all of our problems might be our networks. 

When There is Nothing to be Done, Perhaps It’s Time to Bring Out the Clowns

Naniette Coleman's picture

Imagine you are crossing the street in any major city.  The light turns red and you're instructed by a flashing light, perhaps a police officer, to halt and allow for the flow of car traffic.  Perhaps you look both ways, see nothing coming, and decide to walk anyway.  Your actions are acceptable in most areas of the world but the public response to your seemingly acceptable behavior is unique.  After landing on the other side of the road you are chased down by mimes, mocked mercilessly, people around you join in the mocking and hold up thumbs down signs while pointing out stars on the ground where pedestrians, like you, have died.  No this is not a nightmare or a flash mob, this is just one technique in your communication tool kit that can be used to engage the larger public in community behavior adjustments.  This particular public mocking/service campaign was the brainchild of the former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia.