Counting blessings at the end of a year

I wish all my readers a blessed festive season. Here in South Africa the manufacturing sector is scaling back operations, while consumer goes shopping on a lot of people go on holiday. My strategy is to stay away from large mobs doing shopping, so I have a great excuse to read some, write some, rest some and tinker about my house with my family. I’ve had a great year and I am using this break to also count my blessings.

I want to thank my frequent readers for the messages of support, comments and contributions. During 2012 I have received frequent feedback and contributions from several people who I would like to recognise:

  • Valerie Peters (GIZ) – thank you for really challenging questions and for also valuable contributions
  • Tim Hadingham, for challenging my thinking, sharing ideas, documents and at the same time spreading the word of pragmatic bottom up development
  • Silvia Pella – thank you for taking the ideas I present to serious and for the additional reading and material that you share with me. All the best with your studies – I look forward to supporting you on your adventure.
  • Marcus Jenal, thank you for being so passionate about our shared topic, complexity and systems thinking. You are really good at processing all the stuff we are learning and excellent in taking a lot of people with you in your learning journey.
  • Christian von Drachenfels (VDI/VDE), thank you for sharing publications, ideas, comments, presentations.
  • Tim Kastelle, thank you for the affirmations and for sharing so much of your experience on your blog site
  • Lucho Osorio-Cortes,thank you for your facilitation of the Market Facilitation Initiative of the SEEPNetwork. Also, thank you for involving me as a moderator at the annual SEEPNetwork conference, especially of such an important session where we could play with the topic of complexity, systems thinking and M & E in the development field. Lucho, you are the best facilitator of a knowledge network that I have ever come across.
  • Bart Doorneweert, for adding valuable comments to the posts, and for also sharing your learning and ideas in your own blogsite, Value Chain Generation.
  • Paul Zille, for challenging me to coach your team on the many ideas that I write about, especially on a more “complexity sensitive” approach to value chain promotion.

There are many others who posted a comment, sent me an e-mail, shared a presentation, or asked for advice. I thank you all for reaching out, sharing, challenging, contradicting and for learning with me.

Lastly, I thank my many students in the various courses I present, tutor and supervise for refining my thinking and for including some of my ideas in combination with the wisdom of the many scholars that we have the honor of learning from.

For those that are interested to know, my most popular post was about there being more value to value chains than adding value to products, followed by localization and building domestic manufacturing capacity and supporting business that creates wealth and growth should be our main priority (this was also the most controversial post with lots of e-mails from people sharing my view and venting frustrations about the policies in their organizations). I’ve had 11,502 page views, with the most frequently searched for terms being “innovation vs. invention“, “competition“, “industrialization“, and “market failure“. Recently, my earlier posts on innovation, the service sector and private sector development have been popular, with some posts of 2007 receiving a lot of attention (!!). Several of the posts on this blog have been re-published on other platforms or media, and I have been asked to present many of these ideas at several conferences, seminars, courses and coaching sessions.

So I close with a big “thank you” to all who makes it worthwhile to blog! I wish you all a relaxing festive season and a prosperous 2013. May you discover some new questions that will help you dig deeper in 2013.

Published by

Shawn Cunningham

I am passionate about how organisations and institutions change in developing and transitioning countries. I essentially work between organisations, communities, industries and experts.

0 thoughts on “Counting blessings at the end of a year”

  1. Hi Shawn,

    You deserve a big ‘thanks’ too for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. I will remember our collaboration in 2012 in many ways. Looking forward to working together again in 2013.


  2. Yes indeed, we should thank you, Shawn. Your blog is an example of what Web 2.0 is supposed to be! Happy holidays to all.

  3. Hi Shawn,

    All the best to you too. Enjoy your down time for as long as it lasts! I hope to catch up more on the exciting new stuff in the New Year.
    More on practical methods for value chain innovation will come from my side, I hope.

    Best wishes!


  4. Dear Shawn: I finally have time to respond to your kind post. It made me very happy when I read it. I agree with Valerie: we have to thank you. You are one of those people who keep our hopes high that we can make a difference in the world. You are a rare mix of passion, intelligence, friendliness, insightfulness, and lots of fun to be around. It is because of people like you that MaFI is what it is now; not really because of me! It has been a fortune and privilege meeting you and working with you… and this is just the beginning! You just wait until you see the new version of the Systemic M&E paper that Marcus and I are working on! 🙂
    Best wishes for a great year for you and your beautiful family.

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