BDP Change Process

BDP has been asked to submit a three page document to the AA by Friday. Below are some of the inputs I provided.

Here are additional inputs as well as 5 slides on the KM cycle that you might want to share at the meeting tomorrow

1. It is essential for BDP to seriously take stock of all the tasks and activities it performs, do a consistent SWOT analysis and identify priority areas that cater to the demands of clients. BDP also needs to be ready to drop some of the activities that are not directly link to policy or knowledge services and instead invest further on those areas that can refine and improve service provision to clients and in partnership with RSC and COs.

2. BDP should not fall into the bureaucratic trap of redefining or organizational structures as its own starting point for the agenda for change. Instead BDP should be well aware of what is doing well and what is not doing so well and on this basis define a vision, a mission statement and critical priority areas and related knowledge and policy services.

3. In the overall UNDP context, BDP has the following comparative advantages that no RBx can fill

  • Inter-regional work for cross-pollination of experiences and comparative knowledge (knowledge brokers)
  • Global mandate to foster knowledge creation, dissemination and consumption while promoting innovation and innovative solutions (innovation)
  • Regional presence via the RSCs that could interact more effectively with the center (global coverage with a foot in every regions)
  • KM platforms such as TWs, Wikis and the practice networks
  • Production of critical knowledge products that could not only foster innovation at the CO level but also be used to forecast and predict emerging trends, etc.
  • Resources such as GP and TTFs
  • Mandate to do policy and knowledge development
  • Practice architecture now under attack (but let is not go back to networks which we had in the late 1990s)


4. Part of the problem with BDP is that it is not able to capitalize in these comparative advantages thanks in part to the potpourri of activities and tasks it currently undertakes under various umbrellas, etc.

5. If UNDP is once again striving to be a knowledge based organization then BDP should be the Bureau who can led this process substantively. The fact that the proposed agenda for change indicates that BDP should have an enhanced policy role combined with the recommendation for the Senior Economist lead and support group present an excellent opportunity for BDP to refine its direction and improve its services by using knowledge management and knowledge creation as critical tools.

(from here on in please refer to slides attached here)

6. One example of this is the way UDNP in general and BDP in particular handles knowledge (the first slide is just definition which I will skip). We all area ware of the knowledge cycle (see slide 2). The question for BDP is: how are we currently handling this.

7. (3rd slide). Here we can see that the KC is broken to a large extent. While we certainly produce quite a bit of knowledge products and publications most of them, as confirmed by many RCs, are not very useful for their own in-country work. What is really broken here is the creation of knowledge objects based on the successful assessment and extraction of lessons (or good practices) from the immense arsenal of projects that UNDP runs (over 10k projects in 2010 according to ROAR). We also have weak knowledge capture and knowledge codification processes and systems (the red diagonal line on on the slide indicates the part of the KC which we do not do manage well). So we are basically going from information and data gathering directly to knowledge products.

8. We are also not able to maintain the dynamic nature of the knowledge cycle. Ideally, policy and knowledge services delivered through projects and programmes at the national and regional levels (or outputs in this part of the cycle) should later become inputs so that we can assess and reevaluate the policy recommendations and guidance provided. We are not doing this very effectively today.

9. Slide 4 and 5 show the ideal situation which could help BDP positioned itself as the main broker for strengthening UNDP as a knowledge based organization. In the last slide you can see that BDP cannot do this alone and need to work closely with COs and RBx to make this happen. There is a clear division of labor here where each bureau has a distinctive role to play and where there is room for all and more.

10. All this is complemented by the need for BDP to engage more closely with external policy and substantive institutions and organizations that can help shape not only the current development priorities of UNDP bit also assist providing early warning systems for emerging trends and issues. Only by bring all this together can UNDP start  dreaming about being a global development thought leader

11. In order to move forward in an open and participatory fashion BDP should set up cross-practice working groups on:

  • BDP vision and mission
  • BDP SWOT analysis
  • BDP and KM (not reduced to TWs please!)
  • BDP and policy/knowledge services
  • BDP internal restructuring
  • Others…

Cheers, Raúl

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