Being a leader in development means working in complex and challenging contexts. Projects rarely run as planned, and managers need to be flexible and adaptive in their approach.

About the course

This course will teach you the skills to tackle complex problems in developing - and developed - countries. You will learn how problems in development contexts are always complex - no matter how simple they may appear at first. You will learn strategies for how to dig deeper into the problem and come up with solutions that address the real issues. You will learn techniques and practical tools for understanding local context, and ways to lead effectively. This course will also expose you to the disconnection between policy and practice.

To complement the lecture videos, and enhance your learning, interviews with real world, experienced and development practitioners are included. Some of the practitioners interviewed include: David Booth, Alina Rocha Menocal, Arnaldo Pellini and Louise Shaxton from the Overseas Development Institute; Scott Guggenheim (AusAID-Indonesia Partnership Program); and Jaime Faustino (The Asia Foundation).

Uncertainty is a way of life in development, and leaders need the skills to adapt and excel in this space. Join the course to learn effective strategies for being an adaptive leader in development.

This course is part of the Leadership in Global Development MicroMasters Program. In order to get the most out of this course, it is recommended that you have experience working in the development sector or a strong interest in this area. It is also recommended that you complete the other three courses that make up the Leadership in Global Development MicroMasters: Leaders in Global Development, The Science and Practice of Sustainable Development and Critical Development Perspectives.

What you will learn

By the end of this course, you will be able:

  • To appreciate the fundamental mismatch between policy and practice in development;
  • To understand the importance of having context, and in finding local solutions to local problems;
  • Skills in adaptive development practice, in the cycles of experimentation, learning, iteration and adaptation;
  • To discern strategies to overcome political challenges and broker new collaborations;
  • To comprehend how to measure progress and manage performance when working adaptively;
  • To diffuse results from practice, by taking them to scale and influencing policy.

About the instructors

Mark Moran is the Professor and Chair of Development Effectiveness at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research. Mark has a unique background of technical and social science research with a degree in civil engineering and a PhD in geography and planning.

Dr Jodie Curth-Bibb is an experienced programme manager with The University of Queensland International Development with a 10-year track record in research and evaluation in development programmes.

Sarah Glavey is research manager of global health projects at Trinity College Dublin including NOURISH, a multidisciplinary consortium of researchers investigating the intersection and impact of nutrition, food security, and HIV treatment outcome in Uganda.

Dr Tim Grice is an Honorary Senior Fellow at The University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute and Founding Director at Leapfrog International, a social impact company working for sustainable prosperity.

Duration: 9 weeks, 10-12 hours per week

Language: English

Instructors: Mark Moran, Dr Jodie Curth-Bibb, Sarah Glavey, Tim Grice

Institution: The University of Queensland