New Year, Better Learning: Global Integrity’s Resolutions for Learning and Adapting in 2017

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New Year, Better Learning: Global Integrity’s Resolutions for Learning and Adapting in 2017

January 23, 2017

Following the example of many of our colleagues on the #AdaptDev google group, those of us at Global Integrity wanted to share how we intend to learn, and adapt, more effectively, in 2017. Here are our resolutions:

Informed and inspired by the feedback and work of many of the folks on this (#AdaptDev) list, I resolve to put the 3 Ps center-stage in my work on adaptive learning and development, making sure that the things that I do – and that Global Integrity does – are:

  • Practical: A sound conceptual framework is important, but if it’s to have an impact in needs to be practical and put into practice. Adaptation can follow that.
  • Political: If our efforts don’t help folks to navigate and shape the political dynamics of development, then they’re not going to make a difference.
  • (Properly) Participatory: Who is doing and driving the learning and adaptation matters a lot and facilitating exchange and learning amongst participants with different perspectives and values is a way to practically engage with the political dynamics.

– Alan Hudson, Executive Director

I resolve to offer myself as a resource to help Global Integrity and other organizations at the OpenGov Hub to: test better ways of working; learn; iterate; and adapt.

Sometimes we all fall into ruts that limit our ability to act on new information that might suggest we should change how we’re working. In these instances, it can help to bring in an outsider – someone who isn’t mired in the day-to-day work but still is familiar with the overall nature of the work and its context – to kickstart progress and action (i.e. true adaptation based on what’s being learned). I commit to regularly offer myself as this resource. As Hub Manager, I also have the privilege of having a bird’s eye view of our field and constantly meeting people from different organizations and backgrounds, so I commit to helping connect the dots between similar, complementary frameworks related to adaptive learning (from PDIA to design thinking, agile/lean methodologies, etc.). Finally, to help make sure I practice what I preach, I will try to openly share and reflect on the Hub’s own failures (when we inevitably make them), and create regular (quarterly) space for people to honestly, critically, and constructively reflect on the failures and shortcomings they see in their work.

– Nada Zohdy, Manager, OpenGov Hub

I resolve to learn how our data and research can become tools to drive change for our end users.

For many it can be difficult to manage and navigate the strategic policies and overarching debates of transparency and accountability while aiming to tactically implement outcomes of these discussions on the ground level. That’s why I’m electing to focus my attention on how the Africa Integrity Indicators can become a tool for the end users to drive change in their respective countries, and to explore, learn, and recommend what steps we can take as an organization to make our data more useful. What’s more, end users are oftentimes overwhelmed with research and other information provided by international organizations like ours. How can we better coordinate with other organizations? How can we promote synergies instead of fostering operating in silos? My goal this 2017 is put emphasis in our own learning and knowledge sharing processes so we can better organize the value we provide and serve our beneficiaries.

– Elsa Peraldi, Project Lead, Africa Integrity Indicators

I’ll be putting adaptive learning principles at the core of what I do on a daily basis.

I have never found it hard to understand the instrumental or intrinsic value of adaptive learning as a systems-enhancing approach. In addition, I am not shy to spot (and point out) when and where adaptive practices don’t meet the mark yet. This might include – at times – our own propensity to jump the problem definition phase and/or the implementation phase, launching into a reflection cycle before we actually get a significant portion of work done. However, and observing my own daily routine, there is space (and need) for enhancing my own every-day, so to make the adaptive learning cycle bear fruit in regular operations and management decisions. Going forward and into 2017, I commit to making the time to rigorously scrutinize my own daily/weekly/monthly activities and enhance them based on the principles we set out to pursue as an organization.

– Johannes Tonn, Director of Partnerships & Programs

I resolve to improve my ability (and support others) to more succinctly, accurately, and persuasively describe what we do here at Global Integrity, why adaptive learning is the way to approach almost anything, and what difference we make.  

As the newest member of the team I find myself still with a surface understanding of what we do and why we do it.  Through my own learning by doing (with a dedicated time for reflection – so difficult) I hope to come to a deeper understanding of Global Integrity’s vision, culture, plans, and results.  I want to get beyond the surface (I can give the 30 second elevator pitch, repeat the catch-phrases) and be able to live and breathe adaptive learning and how Global Integrity embodies it so I can more articulately communicate it to others.

– Cashin Yiu, Operations Associate

I’m planning to invest more time in the reflection necessary for effective learning and adaptation.

Recognizing that turning learning into action takes an investment in analysis and reflection, this year I’ll do a better job of intentionally planning for this. That means scheduling the time to reflect on key initiatives I’m working on, ensuring I have the chance to analyze what’s working – and what’s not – and also to record and implement changes based on this. From experience, I know that such time slots have all too often been pushed back and put off, as the more fiercely urgent items push in. This year, I will protect this space, and build it into my schedule from the get go, and around each project cycle I’m a part of.

– Scott Rumpsa, Director of Operations

I resolve to complete a project cycle, advocate for our project, understand and utilize the Hub’s interconnectedness

Having joined the Africa Integrity Indicators project cycle mid-way through, I’d like to do a full cycle first to fully grasp the scope of the project and understand it inside out. So my first resolution is more learning by being fully dedicated to the project’s success for this round and (hopefully!) the next round before strategizing with the team on lessons learned and ‘troubleshooting’ – or adapting!  any issues that come out of the exercise. Priorities include, but are not limited to, citizen awareness and engagement with AII data at the local level, improving the AII website/online platform, and fundraising. In parallel I’d like to increase my understanding (more learning) of GI’s other many activities and initiatives and my non-AII colleagues’ work. Finally I’d like to increase my interactions with other Hub colleagues not at GI but whose work is interconnected with GI’s mission and explore avenues of closer collaboration (common database of local researchers and experts on governance, etc.,, adapting again!)

– Maissa Khattab, Project Manager, Africa Integrity Indicators

I resolve to better understand the importance of Global Integrity’s contribution to worldwide governance indicators and data.

I spend a lot of time sifting through different datasets in the course of my research. When you scratch the surface of different indices/datasets, you begin to see that most aggregated indices are drawn from a limited pool of resources. Unsurprisingly, when when it comes to governance and corruption, Global Integrity’s Country Reports and AII find their way into nearly every index. I resolve to better understand the relationship between the work I do for GI and how that impacts my work as a researcher.

– Jacob Lewis, Project Manager, Africa Integrity Indicators

I resolve to build a community that is able to take on unexpected challenges.

This coming year may be filled with new struggles in continuing the forward momentum of open governance around the world. OpenGov Hub is dedicated to building a resilient community of reformers and adapters, a community that can support one another and work together to create change they wouldn’t be able to do alone. The strength of this community will be determined by how it can respond and adapt to new challenges in the opengov field and ever changing political contexts. But it is a strength that I am determined to help foster, as the work of our members becomes ever more important.

– Kristi Arbogast, OpenGov Hub Communications & Programming Fellow

I’m aiming to communicate more clearly about how Global Integrity is supporting, and practicing, adaptive learning in our work.

“Adaptive learning,” “adaptive management,” and “learning by doing,” are just a few of the many increasingly prevalent buzzwords associated with learning and adaptation. Depending on who you’re talking to, not only do these buzzwords have different meanings, they also have different practical implications. So in 2017, I’m resolving to communicate more effectively re: what we at Global Integrity mean when we talk about learning by doing – a very concrete, practical, 5 stage process that helps us, and our partners, more effectively engage with and navigate the complexity of the systems in which we work.

– Michael Moses, Director of Advocacy & Programs

I will be be more structured and clear in the use of adaptive learning in my own work

Over the past year I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to talk to many people working to make progress towards more open and accountable governance in many countries. Their experiences usually involve learning and adaptation leading to greater impact, but learning and adaptation are usually tacit – or at the best anecdotal – and this makes it harder to communicate  or share insights and practices. This often happens to me in my work too. So, I will aim to practice what I – and we at Global Integrity – preach, by being more clear and structured about my own implementation of adaptive learning, in order to be more effective in my work and to be able to share insights and practices with my colleagues and the broader community. One clear action I’m going to take is to keep a reflection and adaptation log to record particular instances of adaptation of my activities and goals, how and why they can make a difference, and whether they allowed me to be more effective.   

– Jorge Florez, Project Manager, Fiscal Governance



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