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The Systemic Insight podcast

The Systemic Insight podcast series is presented by Marcus Jenal and Shawn Cunningham. Marcus and Shawn are development practitioners that are passionate about more systemic impact within economic development. Finding more systemic intervention points are becoming more important as donors realize that interventions have to be more sensitive to the complexity of the societies where they want to see positive change happening.

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Mar 19, 2020

In this episode, Marcus is talking to Dr Toby Lowe, Senior Lecturer in Public Leadership and Management at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University. Toby describes his purpose as an academic as helping improve the funding, commissioning and performance management of social interventions (across the public, private and voluntary sectors). His research team has used complexity theory to create a critique of New Public Management approaches, particularly highlighting the problems created by attempts to use Outcome-Based Performance Management (e.g. Payment by Results) in complex environments.

The discussion touches upon why outcome measures distort rather than enhance performance, why it leads to gaming becoming a rational strategy, and what the alternatives are for people who work in complex contexts. As Outcome-Based Performance Management is still the prevalent method to manage the performance of (economic) development projects, this discussion is highly relevant to our context.

This episode is packed with ideas and quite challenging thoughts, so enjoy it! We hope it will inspire your own explorations. If you are interested in sharing your experience of exploring the new paradigm or want to start exploring it, do get in touch with us.

Resources mentioned