How long before poverty warriors live in the age of agile?

Few industries have a more compelling purpose than the $200b aid sector, which encompasses millions of professionals working globally within public and private institutions to pursue poverty alleviation and improve the lives of the more than half a billion people on our planet who are living in extreme poverty.   

This potential for good is what drew Steve Denning, a young corporate attorney in Sydney, to join the World Bank in the mid-1990’s.  At the Bank, Steve not only cleansed his soul but learned a thing or two about management, leadership, and story telling.  After spearheading organizational knowledge for the Bank, Steve went on to publish more than 8 books and author more than 600 articles on a wide range of business topics.

While passion, knowledge, and often capital are in abundance in the aid sector, cutting edge management is usually absent.  Typical of public-sector heavy fields, innovations generally must first prove themselves in the commercial sector.  Since leaving the Bank, Steve focused exclusively on the corporate world where his ideas eventually ascended from basement experiments to boardroom doctrine.

Is now the time for development professionals to change the way they work?  We think so.  First, as Steve showed in his most recent book, the Age of Agile, and as covered by The Economist and Financial Times, Agile is not a fad, but now a core operating model of the fastest growing companies.  According to McKinsey and Deloitte, 90% of corporate CEOs see becoming more agile as a top priority. 

Second, the development world has become incredibly dynamic.  The public sector’s role is receding from calling the shots to leveraging much greater sources of private capital.  Recipients of aid, formerly powerless “beneficiaries”, have more choice, and are seen increasingly as customers. 

Next Tuesday July 16th in Washington DC, we are bringing Steve back to his poverty-fighting roots for a workshop which includes an outstanding cast of experts who each hold, or recently held, leadership roles in leading development organizations including The World Bank, US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), plus private implementors, Blumont Inc. and Development Alternatives International (DAI).

Together, we’ll try to answer: 

  1. What lessons from the corporate world apply to the aid sector?
  2. What challenges and opportunities are unique to international development?  
  3. What can we learn from the World Bank’s Agile Fellows Program & other agile initiatives in the sector?
  4. How is transformation work different for public v. private institutions, and for different missions within each?
  5. Is Agile a priority for aid organizations today? Should it be?
  6. Where should organizations start their journey and how can instigators make the case for change?

We are looking forward to this rich discussion and will report back on what we learn. So stay tuned. And if you are keen to join, see details below.


*As a special offer, the first 100 people to register will receive a free copy of Steve’s most recent book The Age of Agile

Featured Speakers: 

Steve Denning — Noted author and storyteller

Alexis BonnellChief Innovation Officer, USAID

Jonathan NashVice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Blumont Inc. and former Acting CEO, Millennium Challenge Corporation

Brigit HelmsVice President of Technical Services, DAI

Stefano Negri – Former Manager, CEO’s Strategic Initiatives, The World Bank

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 9am – 12noon

Registration and Networking Reception begin at 8am

Eaton Hotel | 1201 K Street, NW Washington, DC

Space is limited. RSVP by Friday, July 12, 2019