Counting blessings at the end of a year

I wish all my readers a blessed festive season. Here in South Africa the manufacturing sector is scaling back operations, while consumer goes shopping on a lot of people go on holiday. My strategy is to stay away from large mobs doing shopping, so I have a great excuse to read some, write some, rest some and tinker about my house with my family. I’ve had a great year and I am using this break to also count my blessings.

I want to thank my frequent readers for the messages of support, comments and contributions. During 2012 I have received frequent feedback and contributions from several people who I would like to recognise:

  • Valerie Peters (GIZ) – thank you for really challenging questions and for also valuable contributions
  • Tim Hadingham, for challenging my thinking, sharing ideas, documents and at the same time spreading the word of pragmatic bottom up development
  • Silvia Pella – thank you for taking the ideas I present to serious and for the additional reading and material that you share with me. All the best with your studies – I look forward to supporting you on your adventure.
  • Marcus Jenal, thank you for being so passionate about our shared topic, complexity and systems thinking. You are really good at processing all the stuff we are learning and excellent in taking a lot of people with you in your learning journey.
  • Christian von Drachenfels (VDI/VDE), thank you for sharing publications, ideas, comments, presentations.
  • Tim Kastelle, thank you for the affirmations and for sharing so much of your experience on your blog site
  • Lucho Osorio-Cortes,thank you for your facilitation of the Market Facilitation Initiative of the SEEPNetwork. Also, thank you for involving me as a moderator at the annual SEEPNetwork conference, especially of such an important session where we could play with the topic of complexity, systems thinking and M & E in the development field. Lucho, you are the best facilitator of a knowledge network that I have ever come across.
  • Bart Doorneweert, for adding valuable comments to the posts, and for also sharing your learning and ideas in your own blogsite, Value Chain Generation.
  • Paul Zille, for challenging me to coach your team on the many ideas that I write about, especially on a more “complexity sensitive” approach to value chain promotion.

There are many others who posted a comment, sent me an e-mail, shared a presentation, or asked for advice. I thank you all for reaching out, sharing, challenging, contradicting and for learning with me.

Lastly, I thank my many students in the various courses I present, tutor and supervise for refining my thinking and for including some of my ideas in combination with the wisdom of the many scholars that we have the honor of learning from.

For those that are interested to know, my most popular post was about there being more value to value chains than adding value to products, followed by localization and building domestic manufacturing capacity and supporting business that creates wealth and growth should be our main priority (this was also the most controversial post with lots of e-mails from people sharing my view and venting frustrations about the policies in their organizations). I’ve had 11,502 page views, with the most frequently searched for terms being “innovation vs. invention“, “competition“, “industrialization“, and “market failure“. Recently, my earlier posts on innovation, the service sector and private sector development have been popular, with some posts of 2007 receiving a lot of attention (!!). Several of the posts on this blog have been re-published on other platforms or media, and I have been asked to present many of these ideas at several conferences, seminars, courses and coaching sessions.

So I close with a big “thank you” to all who makes it worthwhile to blog! I wish you all a relaxing festive season and a prosperous 2013. May you discover some new questions that will help you dig deeper in 2013.

2 links to make you think

The first is an article by Iliana Olivié (The Guardian) about the importance of looking at rising inequality as the end of the MDGs draws near. Interestingly, you don’t (just) curb inequality by trying to cap the income of the rich, this seems to lead to capital flight or even brain drains. A broad range of interventions are recommended, ranging from investments in education, health, research and development, banking regulation, industrial policy and monetary policy (to cite Iliana).

The second is a recent post by Marcus Jenal. We’ve been working together on trying to understand the implications of the recent developments in complexity theory and systems thinking on economic development. In this post, Marcus explains some of the challenges that we face as development practitioners, especially with regards to the need of development projects to have clearly defined goals while complexity and systems theories all advocate against this approach. I commented on his post, so also take a look at that.

 

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