Navigating adaptive approaches for development programmes

A guide for the uncertain

Jamie Pett
Published by

This paper is about how to learn and adapt in conditions of uncertainty. The approaches that it describes originate in different sectors but have a number of shared principles.

This paper compares six of the most prominent adaptive approaches to emerge over the past two decades.

Three come from the world of innovation, largely in the private sector (agile, lean startup and HCD), and three from the global development sector (TWP, forms of adaptive management and PDIA).

Mostly applied at the project or product level, they are used by software developers, startup founders, designers, civil servants, programme managers and development entrepreneurs.

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