Feb 26, 2016

Working Together to Harness Knowledge: The Global Delivery Initiative

Maria Gonzalez de Asis , Lead Operations Officer
Michael Woolcock , Lead Social Scientist

How can we channel our relentless efforts to bring better outcomes to our true clients – the world’s poor? How we can harness the cumulative knowledge around delivery and put it into practice in a systematic manner? These questions lie at the heart of the work of the Global Delivery Initiative (GDI), which attempts to operationalize the Science of Delivery (SoD) by bringing together the wealth of local knowledge and experiences on implementation from 30 different partner organizations around the world, to enable the adaptation of this knowledge to specific contexts.

No single organization can solve the most complex development challenges on its own. This is the promise of the GDI: close collaboration and joint efforts between actors that are tackling key development challenges will not only avoid duplicating efforts, but also allow them to leverage and scale up interventions, while equally avoiding failures from the past. The GDI shares a unique global body of technical knowledge combined with delivery know-how from development practitioners. This can enrich the design and implementation of local solutions and increase the probability of achieving results on the ground. Moreover, it will significantly change the way that we understand development cooperation, do our business and work together.

The driving motive of the Global Delivery Initiative is to bring together a range of organizations to build a cumulative knowledge on delivery know-how. Over the past 18 months, the GDI has been able to convene over 30 partners worldwide, bringing together people working in countries ranging from China, Korea, to Nigeria and Chile and many others, and in sectors as diverse as Education, Energy, Transport, and Water. The World Bank, through its Science of Delivery Unit, is supporting the GDI through capacity development, connecting practitioners, developing case studies and other knowledge products, as well as the analysis of Delivery Challenges in Operations.

The GDI establishes the foundations of a community of development organizations that, through their collective effort, is building a cumulative body of delivery know-how to help development practitioners solve complex challenges. We are doing this by jointly developing a range of methodologies and resources for practitioners. These include the Global Delivery Library, an open repository that will house a range of written products, multimedia, and other materials that allow GDI partners to share and access delivery experiences. Another product serving frontline staff and GDI partners is DeCODE (Delivery Challenges in Operations for Development Effectiveness), an evidence-based and data-driven tool that will assist practitioners in predicting delivery challenges that they are likely to face in the course of their interventions. Additionally, GDI is supporting adaptive implementation strategies in different countries, as well as conducting research and hosting global knowledge sharing activities. We are confident that with this wealth of experiences and knowledge, together we can significantly contribute to new strategies for enhancing the quality of implementation, and the effectiveness of development efforts.

For more information, you can read the new paper “Operationalizing the Science of Delivery to Enhance Development Results”.