Background: The PDIA in Practice Series
Many government policies and reforms fail in developing countries. Research at the Building State Capability (BSC) program ties such failure to the tendency of governments to adopt external ‘solutions’ that do not fit their contexts and overwhelm their capabilities. We believe that governments should build their capabilities by employing processes that allow their own people to find and fit their way to solving their country’s real problems. We propose a process for doing this, called problem driven iterative adaptation (PDIA) and have been working since 2009 to explore ‘how to do’ PDIA practically, in the real world. This note summarizes one of the engagements in this journey, and what we learned from this engagement. It does so by answering an adapted set of questions we always ask of PDIA in practice: What did we do? What results emerged? What did we learn? What did we struggle with? What was next?