Megan Campbell December 28, 2016

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A leadership compact signed by champions from 14 different international development organizations. A burgeoning online community sharing resources and ideas for adaptive development across agencies and sectors. A growing library of resources to link the digital development and development effectiveness communities. These outcomes of the Practical Adaptation Network’s (PAN’s) first 100-day sprint demonstrate that small experiments can propel the practice of adaptive management forward in important ways.

As the first sprint of the Practical Adaptation Network formally drew to a close, PAN champions joined the Moving the Needle Conference on USAID’s Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation framework on November 30 to share the results of their work. For 100 days, they have led ‘sprint teams,’ small working groups of collaborators from multiple development agencies and organizations undertaking experiments to operationalize adaptive management principles. In a gathering promoting collaboration, learning and adaptation, these champions shared the modest but meaningful steps they have taken toward turning those concepts into a practical reality. Some of those steps include:

  • Kristi Ragan of DAI and Dayna Brown, independent consultant, led the management and leadership sprint team to explore how you set a culture of adaptivity from the top of organizations. They created an adaptive leadership compact, asking leaders to commit to giving immediate feedback at least once a week for 100 days, making 1 pivot in their work in that time, and meeting to talk about a failure and how they grew from it. Twenty-five senior managers at 14 different international development organizations signed onto the compact. You can find the compact here – sign it yourself and join the movement!
  • Alan Hudson of Global Integrity and Dave Algoso, independent consultant, led a sprint team to explore how to connect the many different networks that believe in adaptive development principles. They created the AdaptDev google group, which has attracted over 230 people from more than 85 organizations to share resources, ideas and questions. We highly recommend joining and contributing your own thoughts and resources!
  • Lesley-Ann Long of mPowering Frontline Health Workers, Dykki Settle of PATH, and Samir Doshi of USAID led the digital development sprint team, which has built a small library of books and articles that help link the digital development and development effectiveness communities. They have also identified meetings and convenings in 2017 where members of these communities can come together in future discussion. Stay tuned for more information on when and where to get involved.

Other sprint teams made modest progress but found it difficult to achieve success in 100 days. That’s ok; the Practical Adaptation Network embodies a spirit of experimentation, where learning from setbacks while building on areas of momentum is normal. We appreciate the commitment of these teams, their willingness to dig into practicalities, and the adaptivity they displayed in learning from setbacks and pivoting appropriately.

In January 2017, PAN will launch its second round of sprints, essentially creating a ‘relay’ where the second sprint teams build upon the achievements and momentum of the first. New inter-organizational sprint teams will take modest but important steps toward goals like responsive procurement processes, hiring for adaptive skills and linking networks interested in adaptive and responsive development. If you are interested in joining or supporting a sprint team, email us at [email protected]!

Thank you to the participants in Practical Adaptation Network Sprint 1:

Alan Hudson Global Integrity
Alicia Dinerstein USAID
Daniel Ortega Nieto World Bank Global Delivery Initiative
Dayna Brown Independent
Dykki Settle PATH
Emily Carnahan PATH
Florencia Guerzovich Independent
Gabriela Christie Internews
Kristi Ragan DAI
Lauren Woodman NetHope
Leni Wild ODI
Magnus Conteh World Vision
Maria del Camino Hurtado World Bank Global Delivery Initiative
Maria Gonzalez de Asis World Bank Global Delivery Initiative
Mark Frohardt Internews
Michelle Wen Gates Foundation
Samir Doshi USAID
Sara Seavey USAID
Subhashini Chandrasekharan
Taj Munson PATH

This blog is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Feedback Labs and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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