How to Improve the Impact of Private Sector Development

By Jim Tanburn, Director, Donor Committee on Enterprise Development

How to Improve the Impact of Private Sector Development

The Private Sector Development (PSD) field is evolving and growing fast – mainstream development is discovering the private sector. Who is doing what? What are the trends and what will be the next ‘big ideas’? And in this age of austerity, what do we know about results, and how to measure them? How can we communicate them, and to whom?

These questions will be addressed by the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) Seminar in Bangkok, 17-20 January, on Current Trends and Results in PSD. Over 100 participants from more than 30 countries and 50 different organisations, field programmes and governments will be attending. Speakerswill present the practical experience of major PSD programmes in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Latin America – including value chain development, trade promotion, business environment reform programmes and challenge funds.

This Seminar provides the opportunity for experienced practitioners to update themselves on current trends in the fast-moving field of PSD. In particular, it will focus on what we are learning about results – since those are now so much in demand: how to work out the logic of the programme, how to monitor progress and how to estimate achievements. Several of the programmes featured are using the DCED Standard for Results Measurementas a monitoring framework.

We plan to film some of the sessions, and to interview some of the speakers and participants during the seminar, and post the videos onto the Business Fights Poverty website, as well as comment on the seminar through our website, YouTube, Twitter and Facebookaccounts. We look forward to engaging with you on the discussion.

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2 Responses

  1. The results of inclusive business – and how to measure them – is a big question for the Business Innovation Facility.  Just today we are launching an Inclusive Business Impacts Discussion Network on the Practitioner Hub.

    We are sharing the BIF approach to monitoring results – along with challenges and lessons. Plus first findings on the impacts we anticipate in inclusive business projects supported by BIF.   In a year and a half, we have already learnt a lot.  For example,  commercial returns are essential and are the basis for development impact at scale, but in many cases it is business expansion not profit that drives IB.   The direct benefits to people at the base of the pyramid vary widely – comparing numbers reached as producers (eg  vegetable farmers) compared to numbers benefiting as consumers (eg of cleaner water) is a classic case of comparing apples and oranges.  One is in the thousands, the other in the hundreds of thousands.     

    We draw on many elements of your approach Jim.  Certainly systemic impacts have grown in recognition in our approach, even though the initiatives BIF supports are individual business ventures, not broad market development.   I estimate a third of our inclusive business ventures may generate tangible (albeit not quantifable) systemic change.

    We also find results chains fantastic for bringing logic and clarity to project management. But other people glaze over.  So we did a more ‘punter friendly’ diagram using concentric circles to show the ripple effect resuling from an inclusive business project. See the blog and diagram here.   It’s one of the most well-received diagrams!     So, results chains for planning, and circles for communicating is my latest lesson learnt.

  2. Thank you Corin and Caroline! I hope the Impacts Discussion Network is lively; the insights you mention look valuable and new. The DCED Seminar also promises to be lively, starting tomorrow. On Twitter, follow @TheDCED and contribute via #DCEDSeminar. We would like to gather experiences from more flavours of PSD if we can – for example on whether businesses also appreciate the clarity that a results chain format offers, as part of a collaborative planning process?

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