“Scale, impact and partnerships” – seeing through the buzz factor

Cartoon credit – http://www.stillwaterhistorians.com

I’m back on the regional conference circuit at the moment, and it’s awash with talk about “scale” and “impact”.

Sound-bite central, indeed, with events I’ve attended recently also still obsessing with how to achieve scale and impact by working in “partnerships”. As suggested in my last post we need to look beyond semantics in the sustainability arena, and instead get real about what some of these terms actually mean as, all too often, our preoccupation with the vernacular distracts us from action.

The UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have included “global partnerships” as their 17th Goal. The proof of authenticity around what the UN thinks can be achieved with this Goal will be revealed over time. However, right now, it seems to me that if you are not talking about “scaling your programmes”, or “measuring the impact” of your efforts (in terms of playing a positive role in society) then you are not “on message” – and that, for many, is a public relations cardinal sin.      Continue reading ““Scale, impact and partnerships” – seeing through the buzz factor”

The MDGs: Fit for Purpose?

Photo credit: @Samuel Jeffrey www.nomadicsamuel.com
Photo credit: @Samuel Jeffrey http://www.nomadicsamuel.com

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have helped switch on our collective consciousness to social and environmental issues affecting millions of the world’s population, and we should applaud this headline.

Since their establishment in 2000, the MDGs have played a catalytic role in shaping a new international development paradigm.  They’ve raised awareness about global issues in a profoundly effective way and led the charge for more collaboration – across countries and across sectors – to tackle these issues together.

However, one inevitability of setting ambitiously high targets is the unavoidable risk of falling short, hence the daily commentary about the impact the MDGs have actually had, in delivering positive change to people and to planet, predictably paints a mixed picture of both successes and failures. Continue reading “The MDGs: Fit for Purpose?”