The road to adaptive management – Byrne, Sparkman and Fowler (2016)


This paper attempts to uncover why, despite the agreement of its importance for programme effectiveness, adaptive management has often failed to be implemented in everyday practices. Through the use of interviews with a range of donors and practitioners, and a review of the literature on adaptive management, the paper examines the incentives and constraints to the adoption of adaptive programming across the donor-implementer relationship. The findings of this research are presented as ‘baskets’ of issues. Four ‘baskets’ of issues are highlighted: knowledge, leadership, culture, and procurement and contracting. Byrne, Sparkman and Fowler hope to provide a catalyst for an open discussion of the many challenges to adaptive management, point toward innovations in programme design and management that are useful, and provide examples of emerging good practices.