Building Capability for Policy Implementation in Honduras

Project team: Matt Andrews, Tim McNaught, and Salimah Samji
October 2018-December 2020

Matt Andrews presenting to people in chairs

The Government of Honduras (GoH) faces key delivery and implementation gaps, especially in challenges that involve many agents and require new capabilities. A new Delivery Facilitation Unit (DFU) was created in the Presidency in 2018 to support these challenges. The purpose of this unit is to engage with entities in and out of government to assist, enable, and expedite progress in producing results and building capabilities to get things done.

In the fall of 2018, the Building State Capability (BSC) program was invited by the GoH to help mobilize this new unit. Using the PDIA approach, the DFU convened seven teams of officials into a 6-month work program, focused on making visible progress on seven key problems (related to energy, agricultural exports, tourism, access to capital for SMEs, and the business climate). In November 2018, the BSC team hosted a two-day workshop in Tegucigalpa with the teams to inaugurate the first six months of work. During the sessions, BSC guided the teams through defining their problem statements, breaking down the problems into root causes, identifying which roots to start tackling and which stakeholders to engage. Each team finished with a set of clear concrete next steps.

The teams then worked iteratively, week-by-week, under the coach-based tutelage of DFU and the BSC team, to progressively solve the many small problems that typically undermine policy success. The teams submitted weekly progress updates and had in-person check-in meetings with BSC every month. The regularity of this process creates tight feedback loops between plans and actions, which often lead to the emergence of new capabilities.

Through this project, the BSC team is seeking to better understand whether a structured process of facilitated emergence like PDIA is a better fit for solving complex and uncertain challenges as compared to more traditional plan and control methods. Professor Matt Andrews has published blog posts that give more background on the project and highlight some of the achievements made by the teams at the end of the first six months of work in May 2019. They can be found here: