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Why Should People Change?

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Building on my last blog entry, I want to talk more about behavioral economics – a science that is taking the world by storm, has earned Daniel Kahneman the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2002, and is the focus of the 2015 WDR. Basically, this work demonstrates that human beings are not as rationale as economics assumed. Now, some of us might reflect on a life full of examples that tell us so... Show MoreBuilding on my last blog entry, I want to talk more about behavioral economics – a science that is taking the world by storm, has earned Daniel Kahneman the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2002, and is the focus of the 2015 WDR. Basically, this work demonstrates that human beings are not as rationale as economics assumed. Now, some of us might reflect on a life full of examples that tell us so... and today scientific experiments show that this is so. People do not act on evidence or knowledge, but their emotions when making decisions. They learn better when they feel good about themselves, while becoming defensive when feeling attacked, and have little motivation to change or perform better when their behavior is monitored especially when they perform complex tasks (rather than simple ones) that require initiative and creative thinking (Career analyst Dan Pink gave a particularly interesting TED Talk on this). If this is so, what does that mean for evaluation? Doesn’t this show that accountability and learning are irreconcilable?  Yes, if accountability is equated with and practiced as a blame game.  But, a culture of blame – one that looks for the culprit and works through shame that results in cover-ups of problems – is different from one of accountability, where roles and responsibilities are clear and are associated with trust and respect that people will fulfill their roles, live up to their promises, and do their best to prevent mistakes and learn from those that are avoidable.  Unfortunately, many organizations confuse blame and accountability, and perpetuate a culture of blame while trying to fix the “culprits of risk”.  As evaluators, we can choose to be part of the blame culture, or step out of it and make the effort to check our words and our actions to ensure we use constructive criticism, and do so to help undo a culture of blame. If evidence does not matter in decision-making, why should we be so concerned with perfecting our skills, advancing our methods?  For one: our professional ethos demands of us to do as sound a job as we can – and sound means the best methodology, and even better a mix of methodologies, and not just one – to generate meaningful insights.  And, as all of you would have experienced: nothing gets emotions higher than poor methodology that generates faulty information, draws wrong conclusions and makes irrelevant or even harmful recommendations.  If emotions drive final decision-making to act, you want people to have the highest respect for your work, and using the best methods is one way to achieve that.  And finally, our approach of tracking – whether it is planned versus actual, or whether learning has taken place – does that not contradict today’s modern people who derive pride out of their work, are self-motivated and thrive in a culture of autonomy, mastery and purpose?  Maybe this is the hardest one for us to crack: we all can imagine how we would flourish in such an environment, and yet experience all too often that people do not behave this way.  Often it is the system, the corporate culture that holds us back, especially in large, complex organizations that on one level demand people to be self-driving, while not creating the right environment for them to do their best.  Evaluations that look for the “why” of success and failure, including systems issues can help explain and rectify these problems. Evaluators are part of a profession that is at a cross-road: we have invested in perfecting methods and setting up systems that should make us more successful, and now we need to invest in translating the insights from behavioral economics into our practices.  Our challenge is to demonstrate with our work that we are not part of the blame game, that our evidence stands up to scrutiny, and that through our interactions, we can tap into a dialogue that influences change.

Capacidad de evaluación: ¿Quién la necesita?

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¿Quién necesita capacidad de evaluación? Años atrás, la respuesta a esta pregunta habría sido “la comunidad de donantes”. Pero esta situación varió drásticamente en los dos últimos años. Muchos otros países están organizando oficinas de evaluación como parte de sus propios sistemas, ya que su población –desde las autoridades hasta los ciudadanos– desea saber hasta qué punto funcionan las Show More¿Quién necesita capacidad de evaluación? Años atrás, la respuesta a esta pregunta habría sido “la comunidad de donantes”. Pero esta situación varió drásticamente en los dos últimos años. Muchos otros países están organizando oficinas de evaluación como parte de sus propios sistemas, ya que su población –desde las autoridades hasta los ciudadanos– desea saber hasta qué punto funcionan las políticas y los programas, sin importan si son financiados por un donante externo o con ingresos públicos. Esta tendencia se hizo evidente en el Cuarto Foro Mundial de los Centros Regionales para el Aprendizaje en Evaluación y Resultados de la Initiativa CLEAR, realizado en la Ciudad de México, donde tuve el privilegio de conocer a dirigentes de todo el mundo e intercambiar con ellos ideas acerca de su meta de integrar la evaluación en los sistemas de gestión de la prestación y el financiamiento de los servicios del sector público, entre otros elementos. Ello demuestra que los Gobiernos reconocen la importancia de la evidencia y de una mayor comprensión de los procesos de desarrollo. Al contar con capacidad de evaluación, los países pueden adoptar decisiones mejor fundamentadas –incluso, asumir riesgos calculados– sobre la administración del sector público en su conjunto y las finanzas estatales en particular. La evaluación contribuye a que los países se identifiquen más con los procesos de desarrollo, lleven adelante un gobierno responsable y tomen oportunamente medidas correctivas cuando las políticas, los programas o las instituciones no funcionen de manera óptima. En la creación de capacidad de evaluación cumplen un papel fundamental aquellos que promueven la evaluación y la identificación de los países con los procesos de desarrollo, y estos  pueden ser autoridades normativas que advierten el verdadero valor de la evidencia en la adopción de decisiones y evaluadores que actúan como interlocutores con autoridades encargadas de formular políticas y tomar decisiones en los países. Estos promotores se ocuparán de que la evaluación se centre en necesidades prioritarias y reciba la atención debida. También son esenciales para interactuar con los numerosos organismos que procuran crear capacidad de evaluación y detectar tanto los cuellos de botella como las necesidades de ayuda. Impulsan redes a las que recurren dirigentes con funciones importantes en el campo de la evaluación para debatir acerca de sus respectivos problemas y soluciones, y para incluir a sus pares de países que acaban de comenzar su travesía por el mundo de la capacidad de evaluación. La creación de capacidad supone un proceso de diagnóstico impulsado por esos promotores nacionales, que deben estar en condiciones de acudir a otros dirigentes en situación similar y de la comunidad dedicada a la evaluación para que los ayuden a detectar necesidades de capacidad y determinar las deficiencias y las formas de subsanarlas, como ocurrió en la mesa redonda de países del sur celebrada en Johannesburgo, donde se reunieron líderes de Argentina, Benin, Brasil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Sudáfrica y Zambia. La identificación de los dirigentes con la causa es decisiva para generar una visión compartida, metas y objetivos claros, y un plan de ejecución supervisado y adaptable. La implementación incluirá capacitación, asesoramiento de especialistas y otros elementos típicos, y, cada vez en mayor medida, un diálogo entre dirigentes que permita: Generar condiciones propicias tanto para establecer el entorno normativo o de políticas como para determinar la demanda de evaluación,   Crear las instituciones pertinentes, lo que exige que los dirigentes comprendan a los clientes, desarrollen servicios, elaboren métodos y sistemas, y formen los recursos humanos, técnicos y financieros necesarios para prestar los servicios, y   Preparar a los recursos humanos, que necesitan aptitudes, conocimientos y redes de contacto para rendir al máximo. En los últimos años, el número de actividades de desarrollo de la capacidad de evaluación tuvo un aumento significativo. Lo positivo es que esta mayor atención conlleva más recursos. El desafío es generar más y mejores sinergias entre esas actividades para que puedan producir colectivamente más de lo que las partes pueden producir en forma individual. Grupos tales como la Red de Evaluación del Desarrollo (i) del Comité de Asistencia para el Desarrollo de la Organización de Cooperación y Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE) e iniciativas como CLEAR (i) o EvalPartners (i) convocan a los distintos interesados en torno a un objetivo común, lo que constituye un buen punto de partida. ¿De qué otra forma es posible respaldar estas actividades? Fomentar condiciones favorables para la evaluación. Este propósito se puede lograr mediante el diálogo entre los evaluadores y las autoridades de alto nivel que  toman decisiones destinado a sensibilizar acerca de la importancia de las evidencias surgidas de las evaluaciones y aumentar su demanda. Al integrar la evaluación en los programas de gestión de las finanzas y el sector público, se daría un fuerte impulso a un entorno propicio que pida y utilice las conclusiones de evaluaciones cruciales. Crear instituciones. Por ejemplo,  en lugar de incorporar las unidades de seguimiento y evaluación de los proyectos  en la estructura de gestión de estos, ellas podrían utilizarse como plataforma de desarrollo de la capacidad de evaluación institucional integrándolas en la administración pública. Situadas en ministerios sectoriales, estas unidades, al interactuar con las oficinas nacionales de estadística, formarían parte de un sistema institucional que genera datos de seguimiento y evaluación relativos a todas las inversiones públicas y no solo a los proyectos, y suministrarían información a los sistemas nacionales de estadística. Por otra parte, es importante incluir los datos que estas instituciones obtienen de sus evaluaciones en procesos específicos de adopción de decisiones, comprender claramente que las evidencias recogidas en las evaluaciones pueden y deben emplearse para fundamentar las decisiones, y elaborar una estrategia destinada a asegurar que los servicios de evaluación proporcionen la evidencia necesaria. Una red de instituciones garantizará que el sistema en su conjunto sea eficiente y esté articulado con los servicios nacionales de estadística. Desarrollar aptitudes y conocimientos. Este tema concita gran atención, pero es abordado con medidas de corto plazo. Para satisfacer la demanda de evaluadores altamente calificados, una solución a largo plazo sería invertir en educación terciaria que incorpore la evaluación en facultades tales como la de administración pública, para quienes se dedicarán a la formulación o la ejecución de políticas y necesitan entender las evidencias surgidas de las evaluaciones y su uso en ambas actividades, así como en programas de posgrado que den a los evaluadores la preparación necesaria para realizar evaluaciones de buena calidad. Trabajar con un grupo de universidades importantes de países asociados y clientes en la creación de una red también ayudará a formular programas de estudios semejantes y normas profesionales, y contribuirá, en su momento, a la profesionalización de esta joven actividad.

Evaluation Capacity: Who Needs It?

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Who needs evaluation capacity? Years ago the answer to this question would have been the donor community.  This situation has changed dramatically in the last couple of years. Many more countries are setting up evaluation offices as part of their own systems. They – from governments to citizens – want to know how well policies and programs work, whether funded by an external donor or Show MoreWho needs evaluation capacity? Years ago the answer to this question would have been the donor community.  This situation has changed dramatically in the last couple of years. Many more countries are setting up evaluation offices as part of their own systems. They – from governments to citizens – want to know how well policies and programs work, whether funded by an external donor or government revenues. This trend was evident at the Fourth Global Forum of the Regional Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) Initiative in Mexico City, where I had the privilege to meet and share ideas with leaders from around the world about their ambition to build evaluation into their systems for managing public sector service delivery, finance, and beyond. It is a demonstration that governments recognize the importance of evidence and greater understanding of development processes. With a capacity to evaluate, countries are able to make better informed decisions – including taking calculated risks – about the management of the public sector as a whole and public finance in particular. Evaluation contributes to increased ownership of development processes, responsible governance, and timely corrective action when policies, programs, or institutions do not perform at their best. Country  ownership and  evaluation champions are essential for the process of developing evaluation capacity. These champions can be policy-makers who see the true value of evidence in the decision-making and evaluators as the interlocutors with policy and decision-makers in their countries. They will ensure that evaluation focuses on priority needs and that it is taken into account. Champions are also essential for engaging with the many agencies that aim to develop evaluation capacities identifying the bottlenecks and the additional needs for support. They are the drivers of networks where leaders of strong evaluation functions reach out to debate each other’s challenges and solutions, as well as include peers in countries that just started their journeys in the evaluation capacity world. Developing capacity involves a diagnostic process that is driven by those local champions. They should be able to call on other leaders in a similar situation and in the evaluation community to help them identify capacity needs and determine gaps and ways to close them, just as took place at the South-South Roundtable in Johannesburg that brought together leaders  from Argentina. Benin, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Niger, South Africa and Zambia. Their ownership is essential for creating a shared vision, clear goals and targets, and a monitored, adaptable implementation plan. Implementation will involve typical elements of training, expert advice, and other inputs, and increasingly dialogue among leaders to develop: the enabling environment, which both sets the policy or authorizing context and signals demand for evaluation,   the institutions, which require they understand their clients, develop services, methods systems, and the human, technical, and financial resources to deliver services, and   people, who need skills, knowledge, and networks to perform at their best. In recent years the number of evaluation capacity development efforts has exploded. The good news: more attention, more resources. The challenge: generating more and better synergies between these efforts so that they collectively produce more than the parts can deliver individually. Groups like the Development Assistance Cooperation Evaluation Network of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development  and  initiatives like CLEAR or EvalPartners rally diverse stakeholders around a common goal, which is a good start. How else to support these efforts? Fostering an enabling environment for evaluation can take place through dialogue among high-level decision makers and evaluators to increase awareness of and demand for evidence from evaluation. Building evaluation into public sector/finance management programs would give a strong impetus to an enabling environment that asks for and uses critical evaluation findings. Developing institutions. Take project-related Monitoring and Evaluation units:  instead of developing these units as part of a project management structure, they could be used as a platform for developing institutional evaluation capacities as an integral part of the government’s public administration. These units, situated in line ministries, when networked with the national statistical offices would form part of an institutionalized system that generates monitoring and evaluation data for all government investments rather than projects, and feed information into the national statistic system. In addition,  it is important to integrate the evaluation data these institutions generate  into specific decision-making processes with a clear understanding how evaluation evidence can and should inform choices, and a strategy to ensure evaluation services provide necessary evidence. A network of institutions will ensure that the system overall is efficient and connected with national statistical services. Building people’s skills and knowledge receives a lot of attention, albeit with short-term measures. To close the demand gap for highly qualified evaluators, a long-term solution lies in investing in tertiary education that incorporates evaluation in faculties such as public administration, both for those who will become policymakers and policy implementers and need to understand evaluation evidence and its use in policy making and implementation, as well as graduate programs for evaluators to equip them with the necessary skills to deliver high quality evaluations. Working with a group of leading universities in partner and client countries to create a network will also help in developing comparable curricula, professional standards, and eventual professionalization of  this young profession.

Ending fragility and measuring results: what do they have in common?

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Indicators, measurement, results – we need to know! Sounds like a typical meeting of evaluators wanting to know about what and how results are being achieved. Right? Actually, these were the central themes of the meeting of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The meeting brought together leaders from Show MoreIndicators, measurement, results – we need to know! Sounds like a typical meeting of evaluators wanting to know about what and how results are being achieved. Right? Actually, these were the central themes of the meeting of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The meeting brought together leaders from fragile and conflict-affected states, known as g7+, and donor countries, as well as representatives of international organizations and civil society. I was thoroughly impressed by their determination to end fragility. This clear focus on the end game combined with a strong commitment to find the right indicators and monitor and measure progress is an encouraging sign that leaders in these countries are serious. The frankness of the discussion was much inspired by Emilia Pires, the Minister of Finance of Timor-Leste, one of the Co-Chairs of the International Dialogue and the Chair of the g7+. In her opening remarks at the launch event for our evaluation of World Bank Group Assistance to Low-Income Fragile and Conflict-Affected States, which took place in Nairobi just after the Kinshasa meeting, she spoke of the urgency of implementing the evaluation’s recommendations and of making sure its lessons get translated into policies and actions. Our evaluation covers a set of complex issues, mirroring the complexity of development challenges in fragile and conflict-affected states: Improving the public sector – through, among others, public expenditure management, civil service reform, and service delivery to citizens –in terms of its immediate functioning while at the same time developing its capacity;   Providing citizens with services not only through the traditional channels – for instance, by providing health services through non-state actors as is the case in Afghanistan – and with the use of community-driven development programs that provide resources to them directly (Afghanistan, Nepal, and Yemen);   Tackling the challenges of jobs and economic growth – both intertwined with security and stability as much as with the development prospect of the country – in ways that strategically integrate the comparative advantages of the World Bank Group institutions so that investment climates improve to ensure private sector investment opportunities can materialize and benefit broad-based economic growth; and   Addressing gender concerns not simply through the angle of social sector services, but by resolving economic disempowerment and the effects of gender-based violence. Our evaluation resonates with World Bank Group colleagues from the Global Center on Conflict, Security, and Development. IEG’s launch event was organized as part of their Learning Week in Nairobi, which aimed to create a forum for discussions and knowledge exchange among Bank Group staff, donors and clients about best practices and lessons from working in most challenging environments around the world. Some of the discussions touched upon how the Bank Group staff working in the FCS countries need to inform the current Bank Group restructuring process, particularly shaping the fragility cross-cutting solutions area and its relationship to other important issues, in particular jobs and gender. As the evaluation illustrated for these two areas, specific, tailored responses to the circumstances of fragility are needed. The interest and commitment of the g7+ and International Dialogue together with the strong commitment of the Global Center on Conflict, Security, and Development are a promising platform to see that lessons are learned and internalized from this evaluation. Over the next six months, IEG will be building on this with a series of learning products on specific topics--such as how resource richness and extractives, gender, the private sector, and jobs play out in FCS countries--that mine the evaluation in more depth. This is the part of IEG's wider commitment to maximizing learning from its evaluations by making evidence accessible and relevant to operational teams.

Mettre fin à la fragilité et mesurer les résultats : quels points communs ?

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Indicateurs, mesures, résultats, nous voulons tout savoir! On se croirait dans une réunion d’évaluateurs, qui cherchent à comprendre quels résultats ont été atteints et comment, non ? De fait, ces thèmes étaient au cœur de la réunion du Dialogue international sur la consolidation de la paix et le renforcement de l’État, organisée à Kinshasa, capitale de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC), Show MoreIndicateurs, mesures, résultats, nous voulons tout savoir! On se croirait dans une réunion d’évaluateurs, qui cherchent à comprendre quels résultats ont été atteints et comment, non ? De fait, ces thèmes étaient au cœur de la réunion du Dialogue international sur la consolidation de la paix et le renforcement de l’État, organisée à Kinshasa, capitale de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC), qui réunissait des dirigeants d’États fragiles ou touchés par un conflit (les pays du g7+) et de pays bailleurs de fonds ainsi que des représentants d’organisations internationales et de la société civile. Ce qui m’a frappée, c’est la détermination à mettre un terme à la fragilité. Conjuguée à un engagement évident de trouver les bons indicateurs pour pouvoir suivre et quantifier les progrès, cette priorité accordée à l’objectif ultime me paraît être un signal encourageant du sérieux de ces hauts responsables. La franchise des débats doit beaucoup à Emilia Pires, ministre des Finances du Timor-Leste et également présidente du g7+ et co-présidente du Dialogue international. Dans son discours qui a inauguré la présentation du rapport que nous avons consacré à l’évaluation de l’aide du Groupe de la Banque mondiale aux États fragiles ou touchés par un conflit, organisé à Nairobi dans le sillage de la réunion de Kinshasa, Mme Pires a insisté sur la nécessité de concrétiser de toute urgence, par des mesures et des politiques, les recommandations et les enseignements de ce travail. Le rapport du Groupe indépendant d’évaluation (IEG) aborde une batterie de questions difficiles, à l’image de la complexité des défis du développement dans les États fragiles ou touchés par un conflit: comment renforcer l’efficacité du secteur public, à travers notamment une réforme de la gestion des dépenses publiques, de l’administration et des services aux citoyens, pour des résultats immédiats de meilleure qualité et pour renforcer les capacités de l’État; comment apporter des services aux citoyens par des canaux autres que ceux traditionnels (en mobilisant, comme en Afghanistan, des acteurs non étatiques pour assurer des services de santé) et en recourant aux programmes de développement pilotés par les communautés, en contact direct avec eux (Afghanistan, Népal et Yémen); comment agir sur le front de l’emploi et de la croissance économique — et, partant, de la sécurité, de la stabilité et des perspectives de développement d’un pays — pour pouvoir intégrer intelligemment les avantages comparés des institutions du Groupe de la Banque mondiale en vue d’améliorer le climat des investissements et de permettre au secteur privé d’agir et de bénéficier d’une croissance diversifiée; comment traiter les aspects liés à la situation spécifique des femmes non seulement sous l’angle des services sociaux mais aussi en contrecarrant les effets néfastes des violences sexuelles sur le plan de l’émancipation économique. Ces réflexions entrent en résonance avec les travaux menés par le Centre mondial sur les conflits, la sécurité et le développement (CCSD) de la Banque mondiale. La réunion de lancement de l’évaluation de l’IEG s’inscrivait dans le cadre de la Semaine de l’apprentissage organisée à Nairobi. De quoi s’agit-il ? De créer un forum de discussion et d’échanges entre le personnel du Groupe de la Banque mondiale, des donateurs et des clients pour aborder les meilleures pratiques et les enseignements retirés d’interventions dans les environnements les plus complexes. La nécessité pour le personnel du Groupe de la Banque mondiale travaillant dans les États fragiles ou touchés par un conflit d’alimenter le processus de restructuration, en cours, de l’institution a ainsi été évoquée, surtout pour ébaucher des solutions à la question transversale qu’est la fragilité en tenant compte de ses liens avec d’autres thèmes essentiels comme l’emploi et l’égalité des sexes. L’évaluation de l’IEG a montré à quel point ces deux domaines appelaient des réponses sur mesure, adaptées à cette fragilité. L’intérêt et l’engagement dont ont fait preuve les membres du g7+ et les participants au Dialogue international ainsi que la volonté de mobilisation du CCSD m’incitent à penser que les enseignements et les recommandations de l’évaluation seront effectivement intégrés. Au cours des six prochains mois, l’IEG va élaborer des produits d’apprentissage tenant compte de ces conclusions et destinés à les approfondir, autour de thèmes bien spécifiques, comme les relations entre dotation en ressources naturelles, industries extractives, rapports homme/femme, secteur privé et emploi dans les États fragiles ou touchés par un conflit. Une démarche qui s’inscrit dans l’engagement de l’IEG à optimiser le fruit de ses évaluations par la diffusion aux équipes opérationnelles des éléments pertinents.

Making Innovation and Entrepreneurship Work for the Poor

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Political Economist Joseph Schumpeter proclaimed, “carrying out innovations is the only function which is fundamental in history”. Growth in any economy comes from three sources: increases of inputs of production, efficiency improvements, and innovation. Of these, innovation is the biggest difference between developed and developing economies and is increasingly becoming key to making growth more Show MorePolitical Economist Joseph Schumpeter proclaimed, “carrying out innovations is the only function which is fundamental in history”. Growth in any economy comes from three sources: increases of inputs of production, efficiency improvements, and innovation. Of these, innovation is the biggest difference between developed and developing economies and is increasingly becoming key to making growth more inclusive and sustainable. What are the key factors that contribute to an ecosystem of innovation?  Klaus Schwab, head of the World Economic Forum, stressed in a recent op-ed in the New York Times: “A strong scientific and technological base, investment from public and private sectors, links between businesses and research centers, a high-quality education system, political transparency, and a culture that encourages entrepreneurship and risk-taking.” The World Bank Group (WBG) is uniquely positioned to help developing countries increase the supply of inclusive innovations. In 2013, IEG reviewed the World Bank Group Support for Innovation and Entrepreneurship looking into its $18.7 billion portfolio dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship interventions over the past decade. The findings suggest that although the amount spent on this type of interventions is sizable and can contribute to major changes, it has to be complemented by other actions to be more effective. Having a clear vision and strategy of how innovation should be used to solve major development challenges is key to the WBG’s effectiveness. This means that the institution needs to coordinate better among its networks, regions and teams as well as across the three institutions, and with public/private partners.  For instance, the evaluation shows that about 77% of World Bank projects supporting public Research and Development activities were satisfactory in achieving this objective, among which the best performers were those projects that fostered linkages between research and industry. The WBG made a positive shift moving away from a narrow focus on market and government failures in innovation and entrepreneurship toward a much broader focus on other bottlenecks impeding innovation and entrepreneurship. The new focus and need to provide sustainable solutions require experimentation with different mechanisms and implementation arrangements. Also it means that WBG needs to carefully monitor and evaluate which interventions and mechanisms work effectively and which need to be improved.   This brings up the issue how to best deal with risky investments into early-stage start-up firms that are known for their innovation and entrepreneurship work.  The evaluation shows that the WBG needs to do better in assessing and developing plans on how to work with such start-ups throughout their growth cycle. The WBG also needs to ensure that knowledge and learning generated from its work across countries and regions is captured better and shared systematically. The evaluation also points out the need to better leverage existing instruments. One of such instruments is research grants used for the creation, application, and diffusion of knowledge and technology that enable innovation. Lessons from this experience suggest that these interventions must be designed and implemented in ways that are demand-driven, incorporate end-users, and support multi-stakeholder collaboration. IEG’s work shows that competitive research grants are most effective when there are transparent and rigorous selection procedures and strong institutional capacity in the research system or where additional investments were made in capacity building activities to improve proposals from weaker institutions. Yet outreach to the extreme poor has been problematic because competitive projects of this sort are not effective at targeting people without land or other productive assets. The WBG’s pressing challenge is to harness innovation to provide sustainable solutions for the poor who live on less than $2 a day both in middle and low income countries.  Broadening involvement in inclusive innovation will be a critical strategy for achieving the WBG’s new corporate goals for poverty reduction and shared prosperity.

The Big Business of Small Enterprise

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The World Bank Group commits an average of $3 billion a year to directly supporting small and medium-size enterprises. There are many successes, but as a recent IEG evaluation reported, more could be done to measure what’s working and what isn't. The World Bank Group commits an average of $3 billion a year to directly supporting small and medium-size enterprises. There are many successes, but as a recent IEG evaluation reported, more could be done to measure what’s working and what isn't.

Wanted: A Simple Measure of Success in a Complex World

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Speaking at the World Bank, Ben Ramalingam, author of Aid on the Edge of Chaos set out a challenge to those working in the humanitarian and development fields: Move away from a narrow focus on what we think is important and take a more wide-angle approach to the issues we’re dealing with. Speaking at the World Bank, Ben Ramalingam, author of Aid on the Edge of Chaos set out a challenge to those working in the humanitarian and development fields: Move away from a narrow focus on what we think is important and take a more wide-angle approach to the issues we’re dealing with.

Beyond Good Intentions: Designing an Evidence-based Approach to Aid

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Is development aid actually benefitting those people it’s designed to help? An evaluation of the Norwegian Development Cooperation Agency contains valuable lessons.Is development aid actually benefitting those people it’s designed to help? An evaluation of the Norwegian Development Cooperation Agency contains valuable lessons.

Ending Poverty: How Should the World Bank Group Measure its Contribution?

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Impartially determining what works and what doesn’t through independent evaluation is central to achieving the Bank Group’s twin goals. Impartially determining what works and what doesn’t through independent evaluation is central to achieving the Bank Group’s twin goals.