Turning Development Upside Down
A book about reforming relief and development

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Book outline

About this book. Why is it being written. Why the writer can write the book. What the writer hopes to achieve. What sort of impact a changed paradigm shift will produce.

Chapter 1 Development has failed
The first challenge is to get the reader to understand the scale of the failure of development. First, absolutely in terms of the total population that are affected by development failure. Second, relatively in terms of how some have progressed and other have not. Discussion of some of the big facts that have to be faced: famine and hunger, war and refugees, poverty and concentration of wealth.

Chapter 2 The problems
This chapter gives an overview of the problems that seem to be causing development failure. The problem of too many people. The problem of not enough development resources. The problems of the development process. The problem of information in development. This chapter starts to move beyond the symptoms of the problems to understand the root causes that are the underlying reasons for development failure. This chapter starts to identify systemic factors. A start is made to go beyond the NORTH's perceptions of development problems as commonly portrayed in the media to a view that reflects more of the SOUTH's view.

Chapter 3 People – too many
Many of the problems of development are blamed on increase in population, and population pressures. But that begs the question of people as having value and their role as a resource. This treats people as liabilities and users or consumers rather than as assets and producers. The chapter challenges some of the issues about people that are used to explain development failure but which are more about the way organizations and societies fail people. It raises the question about people's wasted potential, lack of opportunity and disorganized organizations. It takes up the issue of how organizations with ineffective systems and processes destroy the potential of good people to do great work.

Chapter 4 Resources – not enough
Many of the problems of development are blamed on lack of resources, especially financial resources. There is a lot of dialog in development about lack of resources, and the inability to achieve sustainable development because of resource constraints. Every needed resource is a constraining factor. Human resources are not good enough. Organizational arrangements are not good enough. Infrastructure is not good enough. Natural resources are huge, maybe, but that is not important for local development progress. Machinery and equipment is inadequate. Working capital in business is very limited. Financial resources are short. Knowledge is irrelevant. In short, this chapter starts to challenge the prevailing view that development is impossible because of resource constraints.

Chapter 5 Process – value destruction
This chapter starts to show how nearly everything that has been done in the name of development for the past forty years has ended up with development progress in reverse. It shows how economic value destruction has become the prevailing development process, whether or not it is loan financing of development or grant financing. It shows that most interventions in the past forty years have removed wealth from developing countries rather than creating wealth in these countries. This chapter challenges the conventional ways in which development is implemented, in particular the “project” form of organization that dominates official development assistance (ODA). This chapter shows that development resources are used ineffectively throughout the ODA community. This chapter shows that the process does not result in minimum cost and maximum outcome, simply because the procedures and systems will not allow that to happen. Good people are beaten by bad systems and bad processes and ineffective organizations.

Chapter 6 Information – lots of it, but not much use
The chapter describes some of the information that is available about development and explains why this information has an enormously high cost, but dramatically smaller value. It explains why this information does not help much in making decisions about development. It shows how the data are good for economic analysis and are good material for journalists, but have little use in the effective management of development resources

Chapter 7 There is a way forward
This chapter shows there is a way forward. The proposition is that there is a new way to think of development in terms of the four components: people, resources, process and information. The theme of the chapter is to think of people as being both the beneficiary and the driver of development, to think of resources as being abundant but needing mobilization, to think of process as a way to achieve economic value adding and information as a way to improve development performance, to measure performance and provide a new level of accountability in development.

Chapter 8 People – people centric development
This chapter puts people at the center of development, as the beneficiaries, as the definers of priorities, as the funders of development, as the implementers, as the managers, as the decision makers. It puts people in every corner of the development process. It expands on the ideas that when people have opportunity they can make better use of their abilities for good benefit. But it also recognizes that people are only as good as the team they are part of. So it takes up the question of how people can be organized to get things done. And how people need to be motivated for success. It addresses how to organize for success at every level, while keeping the priorities of people, and the enthusiasm of people so often lost in the humdrum of a typical large organization. It takes up the importance of having people well informed so that they are able to participate in priority setting and decision making and making accountability a factor in development performance.

Chapter 9 Resources – use what is available
This chapter addresses the issue of resources both from the perspective of resource availability as well as how resources are mobilized and allocated to priority works. The chapter explores ways in which available resources can be used to achieve maximum economic value adding and progress towards the goal of success in development. This chapter highlights the importance of all resources. Resources are not just money and financial resources. Resources are:

  • People. What is the human potential? What is needed so that people can do the maximum that they are capable of?
  • Organization. What are the capabilities of existing organizations? What is needed so that they can do the maximum that they can do? What professional organizations are there and what can they do?
  • Infrastructure. What is there? What is the best way to improve the infrastructure so that it can support the highest level of activity? What is the status of the roads, the communications, the clinics and hospitals, the transport systems, etc, etc?
  • Natural resources. What natural resources are there? How can local resources be used as an economic driver for the area? What is the natural economic potential of the area? What can agriculture do? Are their other local resources that have economic potential?
  • Machinery and equipment. What production capacity is there? Does business have what is needed?
  • Working capital. Does business have access to the working capital and liquidity it needs. What needs to be done to satisfy working capital needs?
  • Money. What money and financial services are available? How can salaries and suppliers be paid? What is the business model to generate positive cash flow? What are revenues? Is it market driven? Is it government budget? Is it grant based? Is it fee based? Is it mixed?
  • Knowledge. What knowledge is there? Is everything known that needs to be known. How to stay up to date. How to train new people. How to update knowledge and be in the global knowledge community.

Chapter 10 Process – economic value adding
This chapter describes how the development process can be made to work for people and be done by people and deliver on sustainable development and improved quality of life. It describes how the process must make best use of available resources. It shows how economic value adding can help to create development success out of everything that is done. The chapter describes the essentials of the process:

  • Plan: Use available information and knowledge to determine priority needs and figure out the best way to satisfy these needs based on available people and resources.
  • Organize: Get the resources lined up to do the work. Organize is not just in terms of human resources, but in terms of all resources including the mobilization of financial and other material resources.
  • Implement: Do the work. Generate the benefits. Pay the bills. Do the accounting.
  • Measure: Measure what was used and what was done and what was accomplished. Measure so that excellence can be seen and used to attract more resources.
  • Feedback: Use the measurements. Figure out how to do better. What went wrong? What went right? Get the information to decision makers that can change performance.

This chapter describes a dynamic process with multiple parallel tracks all progressing to success in the best possible way. It is not one single dumbing down of a process to one average for the whole world that makes no sense for anyone. It is process that respects individuals and family and community, and tries to make community better, one community at a time, but bringing to bear everything that might be helpful.

Chapter 11 Information – useful, independent, reliable, universal
This chapter explains the difference between data, information, knowledge and wisdom. It explains the role of private data and the role of public data. For public data, what are the needs, what resources, what uses and what results? This chapter describes how information can be useful, independent, reliable and universal and how enormously valuable data are in achieving development excellence and economic value adding. It describes how data should be organized, the metadata, the information architecture and the amazing ways that modern technology can be used in the management and distribution of information. The chapter addresses the issues of independence and reliability. The chapter addresses the potential problems of errors, insecurity, hackers, fraud or incompetence, and how to get information to be universally accessible through Internet and other appropriate technology. This chapter focuses on the information that is needed to make good plans, to get well organized, to implement well.

Chapter 12 Let's get going
In this chapter there will be some ideas about what readers can do in practical terms and within their means to help. Relatively little help in the right places will make an enormous difference.


Post a Comment

<< Home