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Community Contribution

Applying a Collaborating, Learning and Adapting Approach to USAID Operations

Abra Pollock

From October 2015 to March 2017, Social Impact (SI) provided technical assistance to the USAID Office of Management Services (M/MS) as well as the M/MS Overseas Management Division and their overseas counterparts, Executive Officers (EXOs), in the areas of strategic planning and change management. SI also conducted an Impact Assessment (IA) that analyzed how EXOs are responding to the operational changes introduced by the new ADS 527, "Functions of the Mission Executive Officer." Throughout this internal collaboration assignment, SI and M/MS leadership incorporated and demonstrated practices such as adaptive management, pause & reflect, and continuous learning & improvement.

This case represents a distinctive situation in which USAID/Washington operations staff (the M Bureau) collaborated with mission-based staff (EXOs) to analyze data from the IA and propose multiple strategies for adaptive management to address the changes that the policy introduces. It is an unprecedented example of CLA in the operations domain, influencing operations outcomes—which serve as the foundation for development outcomes.

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