What’s the latest thinking on capacity development? What roles (if any) can social media and new digital tools play? Our work on these issues has led us to propose a new conceptual framework: Capacity Development 2 or CD2.
This framework isn’t about replacing ‘traditional’ capacity development activities with digital tools and tweeting about it. Rather, it expands on traditional approaches and tools which can often focus too narrowly on building skills needed to produce a specific output. In CD2, capacity is understood to be an emergent property of the functioning of the different processes in a system. Capacity isn’t a single ‘outcome’ that can be influenced by a single intervention.
CD2 requires an understanding of the big picture and planning for the future. This means taking a holistic perspective and looking beyond the delivery of specific tasks to the broader systems they are delivered within. We need to ask “How do we make those systems better?” where “better” is locally defined, rather than decided by donors.
Using our expertise and by conducting a literature review we have outlined 5 key components for the CD2 framework:
- Systems perspectives – Using complex systems perspectives to understand why development interventions are not always rational and linear. Individuals, networks and personal relationships can shape interventions in unpredictable ways.
- Four dimensions of change – personal; relationships (both considered at an individual level); collective patterns of thinking and action (at the organisational and network level); and systems and structures (at the enabling-environment level).
- Behavioural competencies – Skills training can be seen as a typical activity of a CD1 approach, but it becomes a CD2 activity when it responds to the behaviours needed to connect individual, organisational and network levels of capacity development.
- Elements of an enabling environment – Essential building blocks for an environment in which CD2 can flourish include: legitimacy; space to operate; boundary spanners and brokers; skills to carry out technical delivery and mandate tasks effectively.
- Digital competencies – Using the concept of digital competencies to help navigate through the range of tools and activities which could be linked to a CD2 framework.
Robbie Gregorowski and Pete Cranston presented the work of their team and outlined some of the challenges in implementing this framework at a webinar on the 15th April 2015. They asked for comments and reactions to this approach as well as considering how it could help capacity development activities within international cooperation.
This webinar was run in partnership with The Learning Network on Capacity Development(LenCD). LenCD is an informal and open Learning Network on Capacity Development. It is a network of individuals and organisations sharing a common interest in improving capacity development practice.