(Writing of the developing world, but obviously applicable to schools…) Organisations get stuck in capability traps: they don’t improve, but get forced to apply (measurable) best practices, which don’t solve the underlying problems or engender improvement.
This approach means we’re pretty good at physical things (building bridges, for example). It doesn’t really work to change education… (Echoes of Street-Level Bureaucracy here).
Reforms become simply signals, so local agents, don’t bother trying to follow them, because they know it won’t make any difference (sound familiar?)
The authors advocate Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation (as below)
First, identify a problem, (not a solution).
This allows local agents to take small steps beginning to address the problem.
How does this approach differ from normal development policy?
In short, this approach, ‘Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation’, is a slower way to evolve towards a more perfect solution… (shades of Hayek, Drucker, Taleb)