If you only read one thing this week…

What difference can 100 days make? by Anna
November 1, 2011, 10:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Review of “Local Empowerment Through Rapid Results”, by N. Matta and P. Morgan in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.  Summer 2011.

The Rapid Results methodology invites groups to take a complex project from identification to achieved goals in 60-120 days.  While the approach is applicable to diverse groups, the authors focus on the public sector since, despite plenty of capacity in government agencies, systemic barriers too often prevent their potential to become results.  They convincingly argue that the Rapid Results methodology can help create “energy, momentum and confidence” for agencies to tackle issues such as increasing use of family planning services that have been illusive or stalled, sometimes for years.

Rapid Results shares a number of similarities with the Community Mobilization approach used by organizations such as Mercy Corps, which gives localized groups a way to identify needs, then prioritize, plan, implement and maintain projects.  Both approaches aim to increase ownership, commitment and leverage local knowledge of what motivates people for change.  Some differences are that while community mobilization intends to be multi-staged in which community members work together to build process skills through increasingly complex projects, Rapid Results starts with an intentionally ambitious goal and manufactured timeframe that a designated leader is accountable for and is supported by coaches trained in the methodology.

An exciting potential application of Rapid Results is refocusing an agency or other group after a set-back in order to rebuild confidence and legitimacy with constituents.  There is more to learn, as the authors readily admit, about scaling-up and sustaining Rapid Results initiatives, but some cases of replication and policy integration are cited from Madagascar and Eritrea.  So, not a magic solution, but Rapid Results is another important approach to have in your program design and implementation toolbox.

Read more about the Rapid Results Institute at http://www.rapidresults.org.


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