Policy brief

Making adaptive rigour work

Principles and practices for strengthening monitoring, evaluation and learning for adaptive management

Organisation
ODI

This paper sets out the emerging thinking to a core question that the Global Learning on Adaptive Management (GLAM) initiative will explore - how can programmes be more rigorous in monitoring and learning from their work, while also being adaptive and dynamic?

The paper's key messages:

  • Core development and humanitarian challenges are complex and require processes of testing, learning and iteration to find solutions – adaptive management offers one approach for this.
  • Yet large bureaucracies and development organisations can have low tolerance for experimentation and learning and adaptive management can be viewed as an excuse for ‘making things up as you go along’.
  • Adaptive programmes can be accountable, rigorous and high quality in how they use evidence – but this requires rethinking some key assumptions about how they are practised. 

About GLAM
The Global Learning on Adaptive Management (GLAM) initiative aims to strengthen the use and uptake of adaptive management within DFID and USAID and across the development sector as a whole, through a focus on strengthening monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL). 

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