Overdue followup on the roots and webs post

Several folks chimed in on last month’s post about complexity and traditional views of causality. They offered a few links that I have just now gotten around to checking out. (Apologies — it’s been a long month of moving, job hunting, etc.)

I wanted to share a few of the interesting ones:

1. Harry Jones from ODI pointed to a very useful briefing paper from 2011 that lays out the 4-page version of how implementing agencies can react to complexity. Worth checking out even if you have merely a passing interest in the topic. If it leaves you wanting more, Jones also linked to a much longer working paper from 2008 that he co-authored with Ben Ramalingam and others. The latter brings a thorough and systematic framework to understanding what complexity science means for development/aid.

(By the way: Both papers struck me as vaguely familiar — like I read them long ago, incorporated elements into my thinking, and then dropped them from consciousness. For this reason, I’ve started using Evernote again. For those without a similar tool, I highly recommend it.)

2. Pascal Venier pointed me to Robert Geyer and Samir Rihani’s Complexity and Public Policy: A New Approach for Politics, Policy and Society — a recent book whose title is pretty self-explanatory. Looks like it even has multiple chapters on international relations and development. I haven’t read it yet, but hope to soon.

3. Jaime Faustino from the Asia Foundation pointed me to a book (available online) on institutional reforms in the Philippines. The book uses case studies to articulate an operational model of “development entrepreneurship” (a phrase I find a bit grating due to the general overuse of the word “entrepreneurship” — but that’s not their fault). The model seeks to combine technical and political analysis with political action, and to find a way for international organizations to support local leaders in the latter. Interesting stuff.

Got any more? Do share. I can’t always read or respond in depth when people post links or email, but I love to get pointers to new resources and share them with others.

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