The new language of development stresses the importance of more inclusive systems of aid. However, new challenges are presented by aid policies and projects that advocate participation of a broader range of stakeholders. The new development orthodoxies are highly value laden and, as such, are difficult to enact, both at a personal and at an organizational level. Experiences in the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) illustrate how, in instances where such value-laden policies are being promoted, gaps often emerge between what is being said or prescribed, and what is actually happening in practice. Ownership is often absent among government and non-government partners. These cases also illustrate processes whereby groups of agency and project staff have come to realize a need for better learning in order to understand and close those gaps.