Magazine article Stanford Social Innovation Review

From the Blog

Magazine article Stanford Social Innovation Review

From the Blog

Article excerpt

Redesigning International Development

"In their September 28, 2015, article, "Using Design Thinking to Eradicate Poverty Creation," Martin Kirk and Joe Brewer of /The Rules, and anthropologist Jason Hickel argued that the international development industry needs to change how it defines the problem it's trying to address, face "a built-in blindness to power dynamics," and rethink the language it uses to describe poverty. They wrote:

"The bulk of the well-meaning development projects that have been rolled out in the Global South over the past 65 years-costing hundreds of billions of dollars-have had very little positive impact on poverty numbers. ... How has this happened? The answer is that the preferred development model su^ers from severe, monumental design flaws. ... All of these flaws are on display in the development industry's latest Big Plan- the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)-which promises ... the total eradication of poverty by no later than 2030. Unfortunately, the underlying design of the SDGs-like the development industry from which they are emerging-is too unsound to make this ambition a reality."

READERS RESPONDED:

"To reduce 'the development industry' to a single monolithic entity on [a] mission to eradicate poverty without addressing underlying causes is short-sighted. It obscures the diversity of actors and approaches. ... To reduce the Sustainable Development Goals to a set of growth-driven measures to tackle income poverty is factually incorrect. ... But the inconvenient truth is that we need to create a new world from the shell of the old. As [with] similar international frameworks ... this far from perfect mix is probably the best the global community has on offer at the moment. ... We can ill afford to waste time on false dichotomies or self-proclaimed holy grails. More than ever, our task is to up the game by learning how to combine a variety of approaches, including design thinking, in the service of systemic change. …

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