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Disrupt Development

Author: Alexander Medik

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Disrupt Development brings you inspiring stories of disruptive thinkers and doers within Sustainable Development. Stories about transformative idea’s, innovative projects, impactful products, groundbreaking systems and new partnerships all aiming to accelarate impact towards Sustainable Development.
60 Episodes
International cooperation has never been more needed, but the current system of “aid” is outdated and ineffective. Global Public Investment calls for a wholesale restructuring of the aid project, a totally new approach fit for the challenges of the 21st century - a new common framework for financing social, economic and environmental challenges in rich, poor, and middle-income countries alike. In this episode we talk with Jonathan Glennie - the driving force behind the radical new approach to aid - Global Public Invesment. We will discuss the current challenges of the AID system, five paradigm shifts that we need to go through to create a new system to tackle global biggest challenges, and together explore how Global Public Investment could look like in practice. Jonathan Glennie is a writer and researcher on international development and cooperation. He was the director of sustainable development research at Ipsos MORI, a visiting fellow at the International Development Institute at King's College London, and has worked at the Overseas Development Institute, Save the Children UK and Christian Aid. He is the author of The Trouble with Aid: Why Less Could Mean More for Africa and Aid, Growth and Poverty and his most recent book The Future of Aid - Global Public Invesment’.More info:
In this AMID StoryCast series, students Delna and Salma dive into the role of religion in international development. They will talk about the history of religion in development and faith-driven initiatives. In this episode, they will narrow down the discussion by looking through the lens of power -namely, the power religion has to foster or hinder international development. Dive in!Bios of the speakers:Delna Abraham is a young professional working on linking research, policy, and practice in the field of global development and social justice through research communication, uptake, and social impact assessment. Skilled in Project Management, Baseline Research and Evaluation and with a background in Journalism, she also has experience reporting on national policy, migration, communal violence, gender, education, and health in India and the Middle East.Salma Peter Tambwe is building a career in Capacity Strengthening in agricultural value chains, research, and education at iCRA. Studied International economics and development, consultancy, and entrepreneurship, her professional background is in project coordination and management, entrepreneurship in East and Central Africa, business plan development for micro farmers and enterprises. She believes in allowing people to own their growth and development and channels that into training and capacity building.
The world has changed since INGO's became prominent actors on the global stage. The current model for INGO's seems no longer fit for purpose. The Ringo Social Lab - Re-imagining the International NGO - brings together a group of influencers, thinkers, leaders and disruptors from across civil society around the world in the quest to re-imagine the role of INGOs and global civil society. In this series we explore the future of global civil society through the lense of the Ringo social lab.  In this first episode we talk with Deborah Doane and Nana Afadzinu to learn more about the why, how and what of this promising initiative. Deborah Doane is partner of the Rights-Co lab and driving force behind the Ringo project. Nana Afadzinu is the director of the West-African Civil Society Institute and member of the Ringo core-team. Interested to learn more about Ringo: to learn more about Disrupt Development:
We live in volatile, uncertain, and complex times. So, how do we navigate an age of uncertainty and complexity in global development? In this series, we explore the Future of Partos - the Dutch Development Cooperation Association that brings together nearly 110 Dutch Development NGOs. In the first episode, we start with a word of welcome from the Director of Partos, Bart Romijn who will explain the unique role of Partos, why a future exploration is needed and how the outcomes of the future exploration will serve Dutch Development NGOs.Click here if you would you like to learn more about the Partos Future Exploration. Click here to explore how you can work together with Disrupt Development. Do you want to engage in thought-provoking conversations with fellow development professionals then make sure to join the 'Talk the Walk' sessions. Every Friday, 1 PM CEST!
In this AMID StoryCast series, students Aysegul and Carlo talk with Domenico Dentoni, full professor in Business Resilience and Transformation at Montpellier Business about the role that academia can play in facilitating coordination of stakeholders in the pursuit of sustainable change. Societal challenges are becoming increasingly complex and will require a systemic approach and collective action. Academia can certainly play a role in bringing heterogeneous groups of actors together as well as inform their decision-making with scientific evidence insights. Is academia ready and well equipped to drive this transition? Is there a need to re-organize science in a more transdisciplinary and innovative way? These are some of the questions that are addressed in this podcast.
In this AMID StoryCast series, students  Shelby and Felix had the chance to discuss how international negotiations change in the face of the corona crisis and the ongoing virtualization of the global meeting landscape. Based on their recent training on international negotiations the two also look deeper into what learnings junior professionals in the field of international development can draw from current best practices and practical experiences. For this, they took the chance to talk with the current First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations, Robin de Vogel, who shares with us her first-hand experience as a negotiator at the UN. 
In this AMID StoryCast series, students  Anke and Kathryn talk about effective online facilitation.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, development professionals have moved most of their work online. How has this made us rethink North-South development partnerships? And how should the facilitators of these partnerships hone their craft accordingly? 
In this AMID StoryCast series, students Matteo and Felix dive into private sector-driven development based on their recent learnings. They discuss the pros and cons of bringing together government and industry leaders as a driver of development, and they identify how civil society and INGOs can play a part in realizing inclusive value creation that goes beyond trickle-down economics.
Episode 22: Pracademics

Episode 22: Pracademics


 Pracademics are individuals with a position in academia, practice or both who straddle the boundaries between the two domains and have the ability to act as responsive connective tissues and as change agents towards the sustainable development goals. In this episode together with Dr. Willem Elbers we are going to talk about pracademics.  Their experiences and the conditions under which pracademics can fulfil their potential as uniquely equipped change agents, innovators and disrupters to bring about transformational change in global development. Dr. Willem Elbers has a position at Radboud University as a researcher and deputy director of the Advanced Master in International Development (AMID).  Dr. Willem Elbers seeks to combine academic excellence with practical relevance in the field of development. The interaction between science and practice is apparent in his research on civil society, partnerships, advocacy, disability and power and his upcoming book - the pracademic as change agent towards the Sustainable Development Goals.   If you are interested in this book, reach out to Dr. Willem Elbers via
In this storycast Inemarie Dekker & Nicky Wakou introduce you to the iMPACT direct foundation who change the story of giving by making it possible to direct donate to local non-profits. Their conversation touches on aid fatigue experienced by donors, donor recipients, the importance of building trust between donors and recipients, the inclusion of communities in the solutions seeking, and decision-making. Inemarie is the founder of iMPACT direct.  She worked 15 years in the development sector with expertise on social inclusion and gender. Presently she continues to build on her ten-year experience as a consultant for various NGOs (local, national and INGOs). Inemarie believes that power relations in global development impede lasting impact and shows an alternative with Impact Direct. Nicky  joined the iMPACT direct board and team with ten years of experience in Europe-Africa relations and in particular  political and humanitarian affairs. At iMPACT direct, she helms strategic communications and stakeholder management.  Nicky believes in a collaborative approach that includes local experts and affected communities.
The vast majority of global development actors are experiencing challenges when it comes to 'Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning'. Many organisations use MEL for accountability, to ensure compliance and prevent fraud than actual learning and improving. Outdated logical frameworks, once used for military planning,  that are still being used extensively. Theory of Changes that are being used predominantly as 'shiny' visuals for communication purposes and not to continiously test assumptions. 5 year projects that only start to seriously validate their assumptions in 'Midlines' evaluations after 2 years, Vanity metrics that spread like a disease in global development where all non-profit websites mainly show many people have been reached and speak little about the effectiveness and efficiency. In this episode I talk with Elianne about Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning - the journey towards effectiveness. We will talk about the major challenges of MEL in global development, the ineffective use of MEL tools, the importance of assumptions, experiments and minimum viable products and the journey of how RNW media became a data-driven organisation. Elianne Anemaat works as a PMEL specialist at RNW Media, a centre of expertise that builds digital communities for change. Elianne contributes to the non-profit sector with her roots in social and cultural anthropology with a specialisation in impact evaluation and data-driven innovation. She has worked with organisations in the field of HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and inclusive governance to support them in becoming more effective. 
Disruptive changes have caused uncertainty in the development sector, specifically for NGOs that are grossly ill-equipped to adapt to the changing times. Although funding from traditional donors is becoming harder to come by, new actors have opened up new streams of development finance that were hitherto out of reach for NGOs. In this StoryCast Salman Khawar will explain why it's important to use investment  cases in Global Development to capitalize on new opportunities. Salman Khawar is a development professional who has a diverse range of experiences in research and communications. In the last three years, he worked directly with the Government of Pakistan, as a consultant for the United Nations. 
Organisations are better in developing innovations but often struggle to create a culture of innovation. In this episode Tanya Accone will share the story of how UNICEF scaled a culture of innovation in their global institution. Tanya Accone has been at the forefront of advocating for and leading ground-breaking initiatives at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). As Senior Advisor on Innovation at Scale, she has led UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre to support 90 countries to identify, adopt and adapt innovative solutions that have changed the lives of 130 million children and their communities.
In this episode Julio Garcia Martinez shares his journey of how he came to work in humanitarian innovation. A journey that is marked by inspiring visits to refugee camps in Nigeria, South-Sudan and Myanmar.  Julio works at ZOA as Change Manager and Innovation Coordinator. ZOA is an international relief and recovery organization supporting vulnerable people affected by violent conflicts and natural disasters in fragile states. With experience in the energy, environmental, development and now humanitarian sector, he enjoys exploring the challenges shared by us all: collaboration, mainstreaming processes and adopting innovative solutions to wicked problems. 
The world changes rapidly, and in many respects so does development cooperation. It is difficult to fully grasp the changes, let alone to make well-informed choices in an environment with many uncertainties. In this episode together with Bart Romijn we are going to talk about development cooperation. We will evaluate if development cooperation has been a success, what global biggest challenges are at the moment, what role development cooperation should play in it, four mind shifts development professionals need to go through and how we need to harness new opportunities. Bart Romijn is the Director of the Dutch Development Cooperation Association Partos. Partos brings together a membership of more than 100 Dutch development NGOs. Through defending the interests of its members, Partos enables them to work successfully towards a just and sustainable world for everyone. Before joining Partos, Bart was the founder and director the non-for-profit consultancy AidEnvironment, Director of Warner Strategy & Fundraising and worked at the European parlement and Greanpeace. 
In this pisode Olloriak takes the time to reflect on her experiences  using Human Centered Design approaches. She discusses some of the pitfalls but also the benefits.Olloriak Sawade works for Plan International based in Amsterdam as the Business Partnership Manager. Within her portfolio she supports colleagues on innovation. Olloriak has worked in the development sector for over a decade with a focus on education, SRHR and youth economic empowerment. She has worked for a range of development organizations such as Right to Play, Oxfam and now for Plan International for the last 3 years.
Cash delivered electronically to a phone or credit card. Direct cash platforms are becoming new competitors of the traditional non-profits in global development. They give individual donors the sense of connection they want, a frictionless customer experience, and a clear value propositon based on results and not good intentions. 100 weeks is a revolutionary way of giving, initiated by Gitte Büch & Jeroen de Lange. 100 WEEKS connects women living in poverty with organizations and people who support them with money for the duration of 100 weeks. The women decide how to spend the money, but receive entrepreneurial training. The cash is transferred to their phones using mobile money and within 100 weeks families are lifting themselves out of extreme poverty.In this episode together with Gitte Büch we are going to talk about direct cash-transfers. What direct cash-transfers are, how 100 weeks is revolutioning global development and lifts women, families and entire communities out of poverty, the growing importance of data at your fingertips, and the opportunities direct-cash transfer bring for the broader development community.Gitte Büch is the co-founder of 100 weeks, an revolutionary direct-cash platform. Before, Gitte worked on the intersection of communication, marketing and fundraising. After various commercial communication positions, she lived in Tanzania and Vietnam for a number of years. For the past fifteen years she has been active in various development organizations, including War Child. 
While efforts to develop novel interventions receive considerable attention and resources, organizations often struggle to turn innovation into impact --thus failing to achieve their full potential. Investments in innovation only yield impact if an organization is able to master the scaling part of the process. Everyone talks about scale, but there are only a few who master the skilsset to scale as Tanya Accone from UNICEF Global Innovation Centre.  Together with Tanya we are going to unpack scaling strategies. We are going to talk about the importance of innovation in global development, and the role of UNICEF herein, what scale is and how to create succesful strategies to scale. Tanya Accone has been at the forefront of advocating for and leading ground-breaking initiatives at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). As Senior Advisor on Innovation at Scale, she has led UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre to support 90 countries to identify, adopt and adapt innovative solutions that have changed the lives of 130 million children and their communities. Tanya joined UNICEF to design the organization’s first internet strategy and led its implementation in more than 100 countries. UNICEF received the internet-equivalent of an Oscar -- a Webby Award -- from The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in recognition of the excellence of part of this work. She went on to establish and lead the organization’s human capital futures and analytics portfolio.
We have an imperative to shape the new aid industry to be fit for today’s challenges. The “aid industry” is an antiquated term and most people use it pejoratively. But changes to this sprawling, $200 billion-a-year industry have come so quickly that we don’t yet have language to  describe it. Perhaps one day something like “impact industry” will catch-on, but for now we’re left with an alphabet soup of social  entrepreneurs, NGOs, impact investors, multilateral development banks,  philanthropies, socially responsible businesses, and on and on.Drawing on two decades covering global development as the founding President & Editor-in-Chief of Devex, in this Podcast Raj Kumar and I will explore how development aid is going through disruptive changes. What ‘old aid’ vs ‘new aid’ looks like, the need to move from a project focus to a business approach, how billionaires, tech disrupters, and social entrepreneurs are transforming the global aid industry, the importance of decolonising aid and much more global trends that will influence your future work. Raj Kumar is the Founding President and Editor-in-Chief at Devex, the media platform for the global development community. He is a media leader and former humanitarian council chair for the World Economic Forum and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His work has led him to more than 50 countries, where he has had the honor to meet many of the aid workers and development professionals who make up the Devex community. He is the author of the book "The Business of Changing the World," a go-to primer on the ideas, people, and technology disrupting the aid industry.
In this Podcast together with Jeroen Kelderhuis we are going to tak about the unique role of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in development cooperation. Why the Netherlands is one of the largest donor countries, the relationship between the Ministry and civil society organisations, lessons learned from the biggest funding instrument, and how we can be flexible and agile in future partnerships. Jeroen Kelderhuis is the Head of Civil Society and Education at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. The Netherlands, being one of the smallest countries in the world, is the seventh-largest donor country of official development assistance. Jeroen Kelderhuis oversees the development assistance provided through civil society. About 25% of Dutch development assistance is implemented through non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which puts the Netherlands among the leading donor countries for non-governmental delivery of development aid.
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