Neha Sharma on Delivery Science: Capturing lessons to improve Implementation

Hi! I’m Neha Sharma, I work with the World Bank and we host the CLEAR Initiative – Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results. CLEAR is a global partnership program that aims to build M&E capacity through Regional Centers. CLEAR Regional Centers work with a diverse set of clients (government, civil society, international donor agencies, and private sector) to increase awareness and knowledge about how to use evidence in decision making.

Lessons Learned:

Through my work over the last few years, I’ve been learning more about the concept of science of delivery, largely related to issues around implementation. To understand this concept, McKinsey framed it as follows: “Delivery is both an art and a science. We think the art is in the innovation and adaptability of the actors and different delivery models, while the science lies in replicating and scaling those models. The needs are great—but so are the opportunities and the resources that we can mobilize if we all work together.”

Some problems are easy to solve or improve, but many are harder. Of critical importance to our work in evaluation capacity development is capturing complex delivery challenges that are influenced by ground realities. High quality services, sound technical solutions, and good intentions are not sufficient to increase the uptake of evidence. The political context, institutional structures, resource constraints, entrenched behaviors shape the outcome of a capacity development intervention. We use many capacity development delivery modalities – training, advisory, roundtables, research papers, etc. – that have to take into account these complexities.

In order to capture lessons from our work, we M&E professionals can take inspiration from the field of delivery science. If you are interested in delivery challenges, I’m providing some resources to inspire and inform you.

Rad Resources:

  1. Voices on Society: The art and science of delivery (McKinsey) features a variety of experts who share their perspectives on important social issues and delivery.
  2. Global Delivery Initiative at the World Bank is a collaborative effort across the international development community to work together to capture delivery lessons and support practitioners to use this knowledge.
  3. Escaping Capability Traps through Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) – from the Center for Global Development and by Matt Andrews, Lant Pritchett, and Michael Woolcock – suggests a four core principle approach for reform initiatives.
  4. Implementation Science is a journal that publishes research on the scientific study of methods that promote the uptake of research findings in healthcare (clinical, organizational or policy contexts).
  5. Nick Milton’s The Lessons Learned Handbook provides practical approaches to learning from experiences.

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