This page is optimized for a taller screen. Please rotate your device or increase the size of your browser window.

From Thinking Politically To Working Politically: Are We Really Doing Development Any Differently?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 9:00 am - 2:00 pm EST

Urban Institute Conference Center
500 L'Enfant Plaza SW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

In June it will be seven years since the Center for Global Development published the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) paper. Few academic papers have had such an impact on development thinking. The question is whether the paper – and subsequent debate and experimentation - have had a demonstrable and beneficial impact on development practice. Experience to date suggests thinking politically is easier than working politically. Practitioners in development agencies, governments and contractors find that convincing theoretical literature can be tricky to operationalize in a fractious environment. 

Still, a growing number of programs have set out to be politically informed in design and politically savvy in implementation. Engaging the reality of politics creates the potential to promote change.

To consider these issues, Abt Associates is hosting a workshop for international development practitioners in Washington, DC, on June 18th, 2019, to discuss the successes and failures in operationalizing this agenda. The session will allow practitioners to discuss experiences in TWP and propose solutions or approaches.

Please join us in this Innovations in Governance series finale where four internationally renowned thinkers and doers will join us to offer their perspectives.

Lunch will be served.

Click HERE for the agenda.


  • Duncan Green, senior strategic adviser, Oxfam GB and professor in practice in international development at the London School of Economics
  • Ann Hudock, CEO, Counterpart International
  • Brian Levy, professor of practice in international development, School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and author of Working with the Grain: Integrating Governance and Growth in Development Strategies  
  • Clare Lockhart, co-founder and director of the Institute for State Effectiveness and senior fellow of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale
  • Graham Teskey (Moderator), Principal Technical Governance Lead, Abt Associates 

Event Partners:  Abt Associates, Democracy International, Urban Institute and the TWP Community of Practice:  Washington DC Working Group

Watch the Session:

Learn more about our work on Governance & Justice:
Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) for Complex Programs in Complex Context (Case Studies)
Thinking and Working Politically on the Road to Self-Reliance

Strengthening Governance & Justice
KOMPAK:  A More Inclusive Indonesian Society through Effective Governance
Three Challenges for 'Poltically Smart' Programming

Learn more about our Innovations in Governance Series
innovations in gov logo