The World Bank Group is engaging in an exciting change in culture. Solutions will trump what President Jim Kim calls “mosquito bite projects” and the focus will be squarely on results to help client countries achieve the ambitious dual goals of eradicating poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
Changing culture is always hard, and the new WBG Strategy rightly focuses on the critical role of incentives to motivate staff to act differently.
IEG clearly plays a role in setting incentives for operational staff – but are we encouraging increased focus on results, risk aversion, or “bean counting”? Knowing how our metrics – what we evaluate and how – influence people’s behavior, we have taken a close look at the World Bank Group Strategy to ensure that our work program and our own behaviors clearly support the change process.
Here are four ways in which we will do this:
Role Modeling is a powerful way to demonstrate different behaviors. So, in our current work program, we have committed to review and sharpen our own results framework to clarify what we want to achieve and how we will measure success. We intend to hold ourselves to the same standards as we do WBG operational staff, and ensure transparency and accountability in reporting how well we deliver impact.
Creating Demand for Outcome Data. In our evaluations, we aim to increase our focus on results, the changes in the lives of people affected by WBG interventions. We will do so using and bringing together data that already exists -- the M&E data collected through projects, impact evaluations, “Big Data,” qualitative evaluations, to name just a few -- and combine this wealth of data with outcome information collected through our independent evaluations. By showcasing what we are looking for in terms of results and how to use data to track and demonstrate results, we aim to provide examples that can be followed by others, and incentivize effective collection, analysis and use of results data.
Empower People with Information. Seeing improvements in the lives of people is a strong driver for WBG staff. They will be even more motivated by information – evidence from evaluation – that helps them understand what difference they make, and why or how these results come about. As independent evaluators, we have a couple of comparative advantages in this respect: it is our job to look back, bring together data and information from various sources, and help create an understanding of what works, what doesn’t and why. In addition, our independence gives us the opportunity – even obligation – to face the hard facts without which change will not happen.
Recognition of Excellence. IEG Awards have been in place for many years to reward individuals and teams in the World Bank Group for outstanding achievements. We are now redesigning the Awards to better recognize the behaviors that the Strategy seeks to promote –candor and learning from mistakes, collaborating across the three Institutions and with others, using evidence in decision making, and exercising selectivity and making tough choices. We will shine the spotlight on teams that have succeeded and can serve as a role model and help others.
Changing culture is everyone’s business and we at IEG are prepared to play our role.