Competing over the wrong things

by | Oct 27, 2018 | Development, Ideas

“Why don’t NGOs have R&D departments?”

Good question.

Unfortunately the answer is because we decided to compete on administration or overhead costs, not impact. We have conditioned the general public and donors to this framing – admin and overheads are bad, money to projects is good.  This has lead to creative accounting and creative writing for if we can write a good report, the money keeps flowing.  In fact, most organisations immensely struggle with defining and measuring meaningful impact because our systems, processes, etc. are simply not designed for it.

R&D is considered an overhead cost, thus not generally done.  Or if it is done, it needs to be ‘hidden’ in different ways.

The incentives are wrongly aligned.


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