What are the Simple Rules that guide our Strategies?

November 21, 2019
Thanks Paul Knox-Clarke for sending me ‘Strategy as Simple Rules’, a 2001 Harvard Business Review article that helps clarify some fairly fuzzy stuff I’ve been writing here and elsewhere on ‘strategic rules of thumb’. The basic idea is that when strategizing, large organizations spend too much time discussing the ‘what’ (climate change? Gender? Education? Livelihoods?), and too little on the

My (current) default suggestions when asked about almost anything to do with ‘strategy’

January 31, 2018
I realised recently that I have a fairly standard playlist of topics I bang on about to people during the frequent ‘blue sky’ (well, the initials are BS, anyway) sessions after someone phones up and says something like ‘can I pick your brains as part of our strategy refresh?’ So I thought, if I am going to give the same

‘I don’t need a Plan, I need a better Radar’ – how can we rethink Strategic Planning?

May 26, 2017
I was in Washington this week helping the International Budget Partnership think about its future direction. There’s a certain rhythm to these exercises – some research on external trends, consultation with partners and staff, maybe bring in some outside facilitators, then sit down and say ‘so what should we be doing differently?’ These days, there is often an initial session on

What are the key principles behind a theory of change approach? Top new ODI paper.

September 17, 2015
Craig Valters of ODI is consistently incisive on Theories of Change, cutting through the flannel surrounding one of the aid business’ favourite new(ish) fuzzwords to identify what is genuinely significant. His new, crisply written paper is a must read for anyone interested in how change happens, doing development differently, or the results agenda. Some excerpts: ‘The development industry is unbalanced