Private sector development is dominated by the use of ‘good practice’ solutions, driven by a desire of the development donors to control the outcome of development initiatives – with limited success.
Bottom-up participatory approaches are more appropriate to find solutions for the complex challenge of market and private sector development. Theory-based approaches are used to design and deliver solutions to economic development challenges. We argue that these approaches have limited potential to manage interventions that target systemic change in complex contexts. On the other hand, alternative approaches based on emergence have some essential shortcomings from the perspective of the international development system. Based on our own working experience, we propose a pragmatic way forward that aims to build on the strengths of emergence-based approaches in complex contexts but is designed to work in the current development environment.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 46.3 (2015) Explore, Scale Up, Move Out: Three Phases to Managing Change under Conditions of Uncertainty