Long form

4 approaches to redesign of core government functions

By |Categories: Core Government Functions, Problem Solving|

There are four different approaches to rebuilding of government systems in fragile states. These are:

  • Temporary fixes
  • Experiments
  • Block-by-block
  • Building key load bearing elements first.

These approaches have their respective good and their bad features.

At Abyrint we are working every day to help clients rebuild government systems. Our work focuses on rebuilding the core machinery of failed states government. Without a functioning bureaucracy the political ambitions will remain lofty goals.

The approach taken to reform design is important. Be considerate from the outset of which approach to choose. A good strategic plan […]

Rebuilding the State | block-by-block

By |Categories: Problem Solving, Strategies for Rebuilding|

What is a building block of a core government system?

This could be a manual, a law, a work-flow, a job description, and organization, or a digital system that are designed to support the government in its work.

Ideally, these systems would be closely thought through, being logically consistent, and providing for an efficient system. This is not the case.

And more importantly, when rebuilding the state, much effort is directed towards developing bits and pieces of the state, and unfortunately, providing solutions that are un-fit. They don’t fit the situation, don’t […]

Design reforms to deliver value quickly

By |Categories: Problem Solving, Strategies for Rebuilding|

Why is designing to realize value quickly so important

Core government systems can be designed to deliver outcomes quickly and cheaply. This is especially important in fragile states. Those governments are very difficult to rebuild. The approaches should be very considerate and adapted to the specificities of that country.

An important element of this is to build minimum viable solutions. These are designed to deliver the main outcomes of the reform very quickly.

This is in contrast to the classical approach. A large scale reform program is designed with all the bells […]

How to select reform initiatives when rebuilding a failed state?

By |Categories: Problem Solving, Strategies for Rebuilding|

By what criteria can we prioritize reform initiatives when rebuilding a failed state?

A core government reform program consists of a large number of initiatives. All those opportunities do not stand equal chances of succeeding. Which opportunity to seize?

Rebuilding governments of fragile states requires agility. This is a buzzword concept, admittedly a dated one, but probably a relevant one for fragile states. Selecting the reform initiative is the critical step in being agile.

Most of the literature and guidance of agile methodologies is originally designed for IT and technology developments in highly functioning […]

Do conventional capacity building, but do it well

By |Categories: Problem Solving|

In recent years, the concept of capacity building has taken over the world of development. Most issues, regardless of the field, are framed as issues of building capacity.

Surprisingly, perhaps, a similar trend has caught up with the corporate boardrooms world of New York and Singapore. Places that would not be traditionally associated with failed state and development.

Capacity building is a convincing concept, and while it doesn’t have a logical competitor, it does have an alternative. Some organizations chase performance more directly through aggressive benchmarks, milestones and production investments. To […]

3 key concepts | Capacity, Capability and Performance

By |Categories: Problem Solving|

The words capacity, capability and performance are often used as synonyms when applied to the problem of strengthening organizations, businesses and governments. But are there important difference in between the three constructs?

Some would argue that term “capacity building” has certainly won the popularity contest as compared to usage of the word “capability”. Especially in the aid financed development world. In business, it is perhaps more common to talk about “performance”.

Does this indicate a difference in meaning? Or are these words used practically as synonyms? And is this important for […]

Manage investments under extreme uncertainty

By |Categories: Risk|

How to think about risk when there is extreme uncertainty?

Risk management under extreme uncertainty should be approaches by thinking about the balance between uncertainty and commitment. We think this way of thinking is more useful than the classical risk assessment frameworks.

This paper focuses specifically on making commitments and investments in high risk countries. These are countries with high levels of uncertainty, often with violence and armed conflict.

In this article we present some of the core ideas developed with our clients.

In this case, the intellectual roots of this article stem from researchers […]

How to mitigate risk in the worlds most volatile places?

By |Categories: Risk|

We have found it useful to discuss risk treatment with clients along the lines outlined in this article. Understanding the categories of risk treatment will help in ensuring that the most important options are considered.

Evidence from enterprise practises is also presented, capturing how risk treatment strategies in a complex portfolio. This indicates the real-world challenges in implementing a full menu of risk mitigation options.

Finally, we discuss how the capability of the organization may impact the ability to handle different mitigation strategies. This builds upon excellent conceptualization developed elsewhere and […]

4 common pitfalls when identifying risks

By |Categories: Risk|


Our research finds that business makes 4 mistakes when identifying risks

Don’t get caught by surprises. Be prepared by having identified the most likely risks. Risk identification is considered a first stage in most approaches to risk management.

Doing business in the most difficult places of the world demands much of risk management.

This article looks at how risk management frameworks are applied in global enterprises that engage in frontier markets. We discuss important shortfalls in their application.

Large business, attuned to operate in high risk environments, have structured risk management frameworks tailored […]