“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, expressed Peter Drucker a while ago. Anyone surprised? How many times, in our efforts to strengthen the use of knowledge in policy, have we seen excellent plans and activities guided by our brains and rational thoughts fail or in need to be completely shifted? Is it possible to explicitly and consciously deal with the intangible aspects of a public institution when trying to generate new ways of producing and using knowledge?
In our third webinar we explored Culture, which we consider the set of shared basic assumptions learned by a group. Members, when entering any new organization, incorporate culture as they learn what is -in that setting- the correct way to perceive, think, and feel the organizational problems. This culture creates the daily context for practice, including incentives and motivations that affect what research can mean for policy processes.
Our special guest, Carolina Trivelli, former Minister of Development and Social Inclusion in Perú, generously shared her story when assuming this role in a recently created Ministry aimed at integrating different and dispersed programs in a unique way, including a sound evaluation system within this new institution. This opened the door for an improvement of the use of evidence in policy.
What happens when a newly formed team takes this opportunity to build a new culture of use of evidence? In this case, the problem emerged when they received people from other large programs (for example, the conditional cash transfer program with 1500 people working in a way for 5-6 years). How can we reshape a pre-existing way of doing things, especially regarding the role of evaluation, evidence and external knowledge? Listen to Carolina´s appealing experience in the recorded version here.
All webinars in the Going beyond ‘context matters’ series are recorded and made freely available online. Watch them now.