MSD competency A4

Integrating sectoral knowledge

Get help from sector experts to improve analysis and strategy

MSD competencies

Competency definition

Practitioners recognise when there are gaps in knowledge affecting programme strategy and seek experts that can help fill them. They adapt input from experts, including external consultants, to meet the programme’s needs.

Knowledge areas

Practitioners with this competency will be knowledgeable about concepts and ideas described and explored in these resources.

Skills and experience

Practitioners with this competency will have acquired qualifications, skills and practical experience that may include:

  • coordination of a public planning or consultation process that involved input from a range of stakeholders
  • advising managers and decision-makers on strategic decision-making by conducting background research, selecting relevant information for the context, and proposing ways forward

Guidance for teaching this competency

Research assignment
For a given intervention area, ask the practitioner to consult with two or three experts or read detailed studies to explore the intervention from different lenses (e.g., economics, social norms). Ask them to report back on how they would integrate the different perspectives to help make decisions about the intervention area.

Facilitated discussion
Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of ‘expert’ knowledge in market systems programmes, touching on issues such as tunnel-visioning and analysis paralysis. Discuss what the role of an MSD programme should be in consulting with experts and managing partnerships with consultants to gain the most value. Examine how to make decisions about using expert input to inform programming.

Coaching & mentoring advice

  • Regularly challenge staff to identify where ongoing interventions would benefit from additional insight or information. Ask them whether expert knowledge is needed.
  • Encourage staff to read reports and papers on the intervention area that are written by researchers and consultants. Push them to extract relevant insight and integrate this into programme interventions.

Guidance for assessing this competency

Traditional questions
Present practitioners with short prompts where they are required to discuss a specific issue area that they may be unfamiliar with. Probe for the process they’d take in answering the question if given more time. Assess for recognition of the limits of their knowledge and the specifics of how they would seek input from others.

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