Jun 19, 2014

Delivery through the Rapid Results Approach

Maria Gonzalez de Asis , Lead Operations Officer

This past Thursday I had the pleasure of chairing a BBL on the Rapid Results approach to problem-solving. Rapid Results is an innovative, structured process that works to set ambitious targets and achieve them in a quick timeframe: 100 days or less. Rapid Results is increasingly talked-about around the Bank, and with good reason – the success of Rapid Results projects, including within the World Bank Group, holds exciting potential to accelerate our impact.

Another exciting aspect of this, and part of why I was pleased to chair this BBL, is that Rapid Results has many interesting connections to the Science of Delivery. Below, I outline a few of these links, highlighting some of the most important applications for improving delivery to achieve better results.

Behavioral approaches. One powerful aspect of the Rapid Results approach is that it challenges practitioners to achieve “seemingly unreasonable” goals. Past experience has shown that this approach can enable vital progress when teams are stuck, and need to accelerate progress toward a larger goal. By starting with a focus on results, RR locks teams into a mindset of achievement, shifting away from mental frameworks that focus on obstacles rather than on overcoming challenges. This is an important insight for SoD’s ongoing focus on behavioral economics, which provides powerful tools for improving delivery solutions.

Testing, adapting, and scaling up. Constant testing and modification is built into the Rapid Results methodology, as each Rapid Results Initiative contains a mid-point assessment, allowing teams to evaluate and, if necessary, refine their strategies.Rapid Results also lends itself to “waves” of rapid iteration, where teams can test and adjust their approaches 100 day cycle; when solutions are particularly promising, teams can scale them up,  “locking in” proven solutions as they emerge. This is crucial for the Science of Delivery’s call to continually test and adapt in the course of implementation.

Multi-stakeholder approaches. Moreover, the RRI’s commitment to bringing broad groups of stakeholders to the table to develop locally-driven goals and solutions is a crucial part of the Science of Delivery – we know that to overcome major  development challenges, everyone needs to have a voice in articulating problems and contributing to their solutions. With its behavioral focus on shifting team mindsets, Rapid Results offers potential to inspire broad-based leadership within organizations and communities. Similarly, Science of Delivery aims to bring many stakeholders together to catalyze collective leadership for change.

We know that a focus on implementation and delivery is vital for achieving results and improving peoples’ welfare. The Rapid Results approach offers a number of powerful tools that have important lessons and applications for the Science of Delivery. Working together, these approaches hold great potential to accelerate our impact and improve delivery for better development outcomes.