Over several weeks in July and August 2021, 79 participants from 16 countries participated in “Development entrepreneurship: 12 keys to successful policy reform.” During the course, participants learned from real-life cases how leaders used entrepreneurial principles to identify and introduce technically sound and politically feasible reforms to foster positive societal and developmental change. Coalitions for Change (CfC) developed the online course, a partnership between The Asia Foundation and the Australian Embassy in the Philippines.
The Development Entrepreneurship online course culminated on August 20, 2021, with special guests from The Asia Foundation and the Australian Embassy in the Philippines.
Using a mix of videos and in-person exchanges with leaders and fellow learners, participants learned key concepts on selecting technically sound and politically feasible reforms, applying entrepreneurial principles in the pursuit of reforms, and developing behaviors of successful reform leaders.
The Asia Foundation’s Thailand Country Representative Tom Parks talked about elites and power shifts in his Political Settlements session. Action for Economic Reforms in the Philippines founder, Men Sta. Ana III spoke on the importance of unraveling problems through spotting Binding Constraints. Rene Sanapo, CfC Leadership Component Manager, shared his ideas on the Observe-Orient-Decide-Act approach, or the importance of reiteration and reflection. Grounding the key concepts are case stories of policy reform leaders.
Danielle Campbell, a Senior Researcher for Institute for Human Security and Social Change, found the critical concept of five entrepreneurial principles practical. “I get how important it is to try and shift the system. But given most of my work has been at the local level, I am not sure how to go about that. I found the 12 key concepts helpful and provided concrete actions to do policy reform. Particularly, the logic around having the belief that the ‘future can be influenced.’”
Wanting to increase access to public transportation for persons with disabilities, Mohammad Kamrul Hasan Bhuiyan from The Asia Foundation Bangladesh said, “Three criteria of transformative reform helped me think of a sustainable reform idea, and, that the reform (idea) should have an impact.”
The course still offered something new, even for those experienced in development work, like Len Mesina, Country Programme Manager, United Nations Women in the Philippines. “It’s great to know and find out the tools and strategies of Development Entrepreneurship. This is something that I have been looking for, for so long, being a development worker and as someone who is getting tired of the long and tedious process of reform work, development engagements, and building partnerships. The development entrepreneurship perspective is a fresh set of lens to use.”
During the commencement program on August 20, 2021, Pablo Lucero, Australian Embassy’s Portfolio Manager for Governance, encouraged the participants to stay curious and ambitious in the reforms they are pursuing and to “spend a significant amount of time reflecting on reforms that will benefit the poor and the vulnerable, and how to uphold human rights.”
Meanwhile, The Asia Foundation’s Philippines Country Representative Sam Chittick reminded the participants to invest in the kind of change that matters and to continue to build the community of leaders. “There is a broader community that cares about the things that you care about: successful development and policy change that improves the lives of people in meaningful ways. A community that will be a sounding board and a reference point for you to continue your work,” said Chittick.
Given the positive feedback of this inaugural course, Coalitions for Change will conduct a second course in November 2021. We invite interested participants to learn more about this exciting new approach to development.
Watch out for more announcements at https://developmententrepreneurship.org.