Yes: Global development (#globaldev) is glocal capacity – to move from single to triple loop learning, all together…
It just dawned on me in all its patent obviousness as I was running last weekend. Of course it’s more complicated than that, and global development is made of various distinct components:
- ensuring safer homes,
- having sustainable water and sanitation services,
- good road infrastructures,
- flourishing agriculture,
- smart education,
- ever improving livelihoods etc.
Development actors, at all levels and from all horizons, tend to focus on the deliverables related to each of these components, very often in isolation from one another, because it seems to provide the proof of development work, and of course that is important.
But the red thread of global development is really much more about the last two items in the list above: learning to improve one’s options in life. Capacity to make choices and ensure that these choices progressively lead to better choices.
Proverbially, we know it is better to teach how to fish than to fish for someone. Better still is to actually wonder whether fishing is the best idea, or even (moving from single to double to triple loop learning) wonder if thinking about fish and fishing is the best thing to do. We will know that global development has reached its goal when everyone will have reached that state of consciousness – how ideal and idealistic! Fluffy bunny thinking – though useful as a source of inspiration.
The move from MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) to SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) is a testimony to this shift of ‘increased smartness’ away from single loop learning (how to provide better xyz) to double loop learning (is this really enough, what is the goal we are really seeking to achieve?).
When you think about it, global development is meant to help us humans develop our capacity to run through Maslow’s pyramid-shaped hierarchy of needs…
It is meant to help us get more adaptive, resilient, learning-focused, smart – and caring!
As one can see in so-called ‘developing countries’, global development is just another sector of economy. In so-called ‘developed countries’, it is not called global development but it is just as present in economy and society, echoed in art by people like Pawel Kuczynsky. In some ways, all sectors of an economy and a society are connected to global development, from architecture to industry, from education to foreign affairs, from waste management to intellectual property management. #GlobalDev is the cornerstone of it all, the spider in the web that connects all the active thinking and learning matter of all other sectors. All that makes it whole and better able to run up the Maslowian stairs.
This is why…
Global development is influenced by all efforts at all levels – all attempts at increasing the smartness of individual nodes and increasing their potential to connect with other nodes to form a whole grid of global capacity. So capacity is local, capacity is global, capacity is individual, present among teams, organisational, societal.
And two things matter in global development, for these two conditions to emerge:
- Learning at all levels to boost our nodes, ourselves, from PKM to universal sense-making;
- Caring, nurturing, trust (and whatever it takes to generate that), and caring for empowerment (through e.g. delegating management and stimulating leadership).
Both are very slow processes, building on the development of expertise, building on social learning to accelerate and connect those learning/adaptive capacities (and become a hero) and on developing trust to ease the social learning process – that’s why, arguably, relationships matter more than results in development, because relationships have long-lasting effects on a very complex and slow-moving set of issues.
Interestingly, #globaldev has a whole scary history of failures, because we keep focusing on the wrong things, the what, instead of the why and how, the results instead of the (process) conditions that favour better results.
But these development-focused relationships are well worth investing in, so that eventually our Maslow pyramid is matched by a collective, human pyramid. And that would be a beautiful development to aspire to, wouldn’t you agree?
Related blog posts:
- Learning-blind development (aid) and the missed opportunities for a real difference
- Look beyond WHAT to do: WHY and HOW lead to WHO
- At the IKM table: linearity, participation, accountability and individual agency on the practice-based change menu (1)
- At the IKM Table (2): individual agency vs. organisational remit, accountability and impact pathways for the future of IKM-Emergent
- Capacity development: Taking stock
- KM=CDL, on the journey to universal sense-making