Response: Research for influence


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A presentation by Helouise Emdon, IDRC, delivered at Information for Change 2007, Cape Town, South Africa.

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Response: Research for influence

  1. 1. Response: Research for influence Heloise Emdon 18 June 2007 Cape Town Book Fair Information for Change
  2. 2. International Development Reseach Centre <ul><li>Origins </li></ul><ul><li>Pearson Report ‘Partners in Development‘ (1969): Gap in Scientific and technological capacities between North and South </li></ul><ul><li>IDRC Act (1970) </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophy </li></ul><ul><li>Hopper-Pearson Debate at the first Board meeting: support to researchers in developing countries vs. support to Canadian researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Responsive yet proactive </li></ul>
  3. 3. Mandate <ul><li>“ … to initiate, encourage, support, and conduct research into the problems of the developing regions of the world and into the means for applying and adapting scientific, technical, and other knowledge to the economic and social advancement of those regions …” IDRC Act (1970) </li></ul>Micheal Cairns 1995, farmer meeting in Nagaland, India
  4. 4. Seeking out social innovators <ul><li>Venture Capitalists of Ideas for development </li></ul><ul><li>Seeking social innovators in the field of Environment, Economy, ICTs and Innovation </li></ul>
  5. 5. Ineke Buskens <ul><li>Research Director of GRACE – Gender Research in Africa on ICTs for Empowerment, 12 African countries, 14 researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Principle Investigator: Infant Feeding Research Project - Pediatric HIV/AIDS through unsafe feeding practices in Southern Africa </li></ul>
  6. 7. What she said: <ul><li>Research – being human, constructing meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Paradigms of research – whether, what, how </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher – you, changed by the research, how </li></ul><ul><li>Reflective change: Critical awareness, confidence, coherence, connection </li></ul><ul><li>Quality of research </li></ul><ul><li>Use of research: information for knowledge and change </li></ul>
  7. 8. ‘ Getting to Maybe’ Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Quinn Patton. 2006. Getting to Maybe: How the World has Changed. Random House Canada.
  8. 9. ‘ Dagu is life’ <ul><li>Afaris, nomadic Ethiopian tribe survived harsh environmental conditions, believe it is a sacred responsibility to listen and share dagu – information – more than pure data </li></ul><ul><li>On meeting other Afari families they will sit down, talk, listen for hours </li></ul><ul><li>The exchange of dagu trumps all other responsibilities, the collectively make sense of pattern </li></ul><ul><li>To survive Afaris need all members to be sensitive and aware of emerging patterns – natural and social </li></ul><ul><li>Severe punishments for failing to share dagu or misrepresenting, p133-4 </li></ul>
  9. 10. Social change -- guide to the journey <ul><li>Intentionality and complexity </li></ul><ul><li>Intent: deliberate commitment to act </li></ul><ul><li>Complexity science: unpredictability irrespective of intent </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>To what extent and in what ways can we be deliberate and intentional about those things that seem to emegere without our control, without our intention?” core theme of book </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Questions are key </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tensions revealed and amplified </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relationships key to understanding and engaging with complex dynamics of social innovation </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mindset crucial – framed inquiry not certititude, embracing paradoxes and tolerate multiple perspectives </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 11. Drivers of social innovators <ul><li>Poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS, abuse, crime, homicide, disability </li></ul><ul><li>CHBs (concerned human beings) Liberation theologists, Bob Geldoff, Mohammed Yunnus, Brazilians, hosts of voluntary organisations, NGOs </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Getting to Maybe: Commitment, call, passion to change the impossible </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stand still: reflection, self knowledge, the call, asking the right questions </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Powerful stranger: opposition, systems, regulations, policies </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Letting the flow find you: the tipping point, emergence, intentionality, knowing patterns, recognizing flow, dagu </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cold Heaven: when is change success? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>When hope and history rhyme </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The doors open </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 12. Craft of social innovation <ul><li>Pattern recognition – recognise it when it finds you </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic big picture thinking – where you are in the greater scheme of things </li></ul><ul><li>Knowing how to interpret information and convert it to knowledge you can use to move forward </li></ul><ul><li>Living with paradoxes: great vision vs staring reality in the face </li></ul>
  12. 13. Developmental Evaluation <ul><li>Do it! </li></ul><ul><li>Grounded in complexity, systems understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Beyond the personal </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome Mapping </li></ul>
  13. 14. Outcome Mapping
  14. 15. When research knowledge change lives? <ul><li>ART and electronic medical records </li></ul><ul><li>Free and open source software for universities, EMR and hospitals, microcredit </li></ul><ul><li>Bandwidth for universities in Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Telecoms policies to ensure services for all in Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Shoestring networks in poor and remote communities </li></ul>
  15. 16. In short…. <ul><li>Working with research partners who are social innovators </li></ul><ul><li>Have a mindset to change the world </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intention and complexity </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Learn, evaluate, big picture </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Know who they are in grander scheme of things </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Strategic use of outcomes </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Publish, disseminate </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research for influence </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research for change </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 17. Discussion Discussion Thank you [email_address]