Risks we take and choices we make

Inclusive Economy08 Jul 2013Magda Stepanyan

In any situation, there is a chance you might lose and a chance you might win. We start a new blog on management of risks, within and beyond development cooperation.

Dear reader,

We are starting a regular blog fully dedicated to the management of the risks we face in different aspects of our life. Why is this important? Simply, because we ALL have to deal with risks. Those who are better at avoiding threats and at seizing opportunities are more successful at achieving their objectives. In less fortunate situations we have a tendency to blame all sorts of factors: the changing economic or political context, the lack of capacities of different stakeholders, changing climate, and many others. But the truth is, in any situation, there is a chance you might lose and a chance you might win.

What we all want in the long run is to set and successfully achieve meaningful objectives. Individuals, organizations, governments or a society as a whole – we all have visions and aspirations and we want them to be realized. Yet the activities we engage in and the projects we implement to fulfill our visions may not necessary complement each other. And this is understandable: reality is complex and requires many choices. But which choices are worth making? How can we define how critical different alternatives are in terms of achieving our objectives? Are we making conscious choices with a clear understanding of their potential implications? Is it possible at all to define ‘potential implications’?

These questions become even more important when the choices we make influence the lives and wellbeing of others. What is development cooperation if not a combined effort to influence the lives of millions? The ‘intervention logic’, ‘results framework’ or ‘logframe’ reflect the choices we make while defining development objectives and map out a route towards achieving them: at which level should we direct our intervention – policy level, community level or a combination? Which partners should we work with – each has its value and its different approaches, organizational cultures and procedures. Which results should we focus on? Should we be specific or look for a more holistic approach in delivering development results and creating synergies between various interventions?

The capacities of individuals, organizations and societies to set development objectives and successfully implement them are critical. How well do our capacities and capabilities match our intentions and therefore produce the expected results? Who sets the objectives? Whose risks matter: whose threats and whose opportunities? These are challenging questions that cannot be answered unambiguously and require careful consideration of various perspectives.

We will be addressing these and many other relevant questions in our blog. Our intention is to offer a knowledge platform for a broad range of thinkers, policy-makers and practitioners – to raise questions, exchange ideas and good practices, and therefore facilitate learning across the sector. There will be guest bloggers, public discussions, articles, reviews, interviews, etc. We believe that this initiative will facilitate improved performance at all levels: individual, organizational, societal, and global.

I welcome you all to share your ideas, give us your feedback, and help us to shape the content of this platform. I would be pleased to receive your comments, recommendations, requests and inquiries as we go on!

Yours sincerely,

Magda Stepanyan