WorldBank and the lack of design.
May 30, 2007 § Leave a comment
I remember at the World Bank in the 70’s a team of anthropologists wanted to understand how decisions were made. So they arranged to attend and take notes at meetings called “decision meetings.” But in fact the meeting’s real purpose was just to ratify a “decision” made deeper down in the bureaucracy over a long period of time – weeks, if not months. The result was that the “design” of the “decision” reflected the bureaucratic structure as the sole design criteria. For example,”Village participation” meant asking the villagers where they wanted the hospital rather than asking them what they wanted. Participation was a way of rationalizing what was predetermined as what the bank knew how to deliver. Hence we got decisions without design.