From analysis to action: what works in designing interventions based on market systems analysis

Mark Thomas Katie Clancy Maximilian Schulz
Published by
BEAM Exchange

This research set out to understand how practitioners design interventions within market systems development (MSD) programmes.

This key step in moving from inception to implementation has often proved difficult. Programmes have suffered from ‘paralysis by analysis’ or have rushed into interventions that have not delivered the desired results. We tested a number of hypotheses as to what would influence intervention design through engagement with practitioners who were willing to share their experiences. One central finding is that practitioners found it very difficult to set out exactly how they had selected a particular intervention. Instead responses focused more on the processes of design that practitioners had followed and factors that affect these processes. 

This analysis informed a framework that presents the key issues and approaches affecting design. The framework includes three broad areas:

  • Wider context: the wider environment the programme operates in as well as the nature of the underlying markets 
  • Modalities and resources: the framework set by the donors, the nature of the team as well as the attitudes and expectations of those involved
  • Intervention design process: the approaches and methodologies that are applied to design and adapt interventions. 

The report is based on the research project led by Nathan Associates on analysis to action.