Governments across the world regularly pursue reforms that achieve less than was originally expected or is needed to make the state function better. The limits to reform success are often obvious in even the early days of reform, where gaps and weaknesses manifest. Many governments have no mechanisms built into their reform processes to see these gaps and weaknesses, however, and persist with predefined reform plans instead of adapting designs to close the gaps and address weaknesses. One antidote to this challenge is to create reflection points where reformers scrutinize their progress to identify weaknesses, reflect on these weaknesses, and adapt their next steps to address the weaknesses. In the spirit of John Kingdon’s work on ‘policy windows’, we call these reflection points ‘adaptation windows’—moments where reformers acknowledge problems in their reforms, adapt reforms to address such, and mobilize support for this adaptation. This paper discusses an effort to open an adaptation window for reformers to ‘see’ and then respond to public financial management (PFM) reform gaps and weaknesses in Mozambique. The paper details why and how this work was pursued, and also reflects on results of the government’s reflection at the adaptation window.
Principles of PDIA
The BSC team uses the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) approach, which rests on four core principles:
What is PDIA?
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Watch our new PDIA Video!
Mar 28, 2018
We are delighted to release the PDIA in Practice Series of short notes that describe where the PDIA tools and ideas have emerged from, and how these ideas have taken shape. This first note tells a story of the first PDIA experiment we conducted in Mozambique in 2009, and the ‘adaptation window’ idea and practice it inspired.