Thinking about places we live AND work in

We have just completed twelve months of lockdowns in South Africa. As many of my international friends would know, our initial lockdowns were quite harsh. No going beyond our property, no alcohol sales and no travel. Thankfully it got a little “easier” or less-draconian somewhere along the line. A constant stream of memes and jokes… Continue reading Thinking about places we live AND work in

Futurists and local economic development

A group of senior South African decision makers on a tour to Germany to see how German local governments planned for change

Futurists use a forward-looking philosophy to chart their organisations’ strategies. They are not so caught in the here and now. Rather they imagine and then mobilise people towards a future that does not yet exist. It means you can not yet plan for it, you first have to imagine it. Futurists are not caught up like… Continue reading Futurists and local economic development

Between a rock and a hard place. Sectoral vs. local approaches to private sector development

I am preparing for a presentation at a conference in May about development programmes shifting from a sectoral to a regional or local perspective. This got me thinking about these shifts in focus and why they appear. In economic development, it is often necessary to choose whether to intervene at a sectoral level, or whether… Continue reading Between a rock and a hard place. Sectoral vs. local approaches to private sector development

Innovation systems in Metropolitan Regions of developing countries

During 2015 Frank Waeltring and I were commissioned by the GIZ Sector Project “Sustainable Development of Metropolitan Regions” (on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Division 312 – Water, Urban Development, Transport) to write a discussion paper about a hands-on approach to innovation systems promotion in metropolitan regions in developing countries. The discussion paper… Continue reading Innovation systems in Metropolitan Regions of developing countries

Complexity and international development

A while ago I posted an article about the exciting developments in the various fields around complexity science and development (actually there are several earlier articles making reference to this topic). Recently Marcus Jenal wrote a great review of the work of Ben Ramalingam (author of the blog Aid on the Edge of Chaos) and… Continue reading Complexity and international development

More on bottom up development

I was reminded by a reader that Robert Chambers of the IDS is known to be a strong proponent of bottom up development, because it overcomes some of the issues of the complexity of development. At the same time I found a recent blog post by Ben Ramalingam at the Aid on the edge of… Continue reading More on bottom up development

The irony of bottom-up development

From the participants of our trainings on local and regional economic development it seems evident that many national governments are paying lip service to bottom-up development. Often Local Economic Development (LED) is related to attempts to decentralise certain decision-making to lower tiers of governments. However, this is done in an uneven way where powers to… Continue reading The irony of bottom-up development

Developing territories from the bottom up

Its been a while since I have made a post, largely because watching the discussions in our local press is so amusing and entertaining. I had to keep my fingers in fists not to type anything I would regret later. This is a poor excuse, so let me get back to the reason why you… Continue reading Developing territories from the bottom up

Connecting innovation systems with local and regional economies

Many of you have asked me how I connect my current focus on innovation systems and technological upgrading with industries with my past experiences of local and regional economic development. I thank you for repeatedly asking this question, and apologise for not providing you with an answer. The reason for my silence was that I… Continue reading Connecting innovation systems with local and regional economies

Local economic development as an evolutionary process

Modern evolutionary economics is about 20 years old now, and many research programmes continue to add to the content of the subject. I think that development practitioners have a lot to learn from this subject. When we work at the local level, with local stakeholders and local resources, we are often confronted by the failures… Continue reading Local economic development as an evolutionary process