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The science of delivery and the art and politics of institutional change

Time (GMT +00) 15:00 16:30



Michael Woolcock - Lead Social Development Specialist, Development Research Group, World Bank


Philipp Krause - Head of Research, BSI,Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure, ODI



Pilar Domingo - Research Fellow, Politics and Governance Programme, ODI




Andrew Norton - Director of Research, ODI


​A fragile state, by definition, is one that is unable to implement its core responsibilities. The standard procedures and assumptions which guide donor engagement in non-fragile states, therefore, may not apply. While the received wisdom is that good institutions will build success in non-fragile states, the reverse may be true for fragile states: success will build good institutions.


Deploying the language of the ‘science of delivery’ in fragile states must incorporate helping states to identify, examine and disseminate those – perhaps initially small – islands of success as a central component of its strategy for building effective implementation capabilities. Actually ‘delivering’ on this agenda will require donors to expand the logic of ‘science’ to include navigating the art and politics of institutional change.


This event will explore the relevance of current donor approaches in fragile states and whether and how the recent emphasis on the “science of delivery” can assist in refining these to connect more usefully with the challenges faced in fragile contexts.

203 Blackfriars Road London