Category Archives: general

New Year, New Theme

At the beginning of the year, I decided that my blog needed a face lifting. Finally, I made it and here it is. I’m still using a free WordPress Theme, so you might find other blogs that just look like this one. But they will not have the same content. Also in 2013, I will continue to write about complexity, systems thinking and my work in international development.

I also want to take the opportunity to thank my readers and especially the people that comment now and then. Comments are extremely important for me as a feedback on the relevance of my posts. Looking forward to more dialogue in 2013!

Help us support the MaFI-festo: changing the rules of international development

Dear readers, a while ago I wrote a post on the MaFI-festo, a discussion paper that makes some suggestions on how to make development more effective (Boosting development effectiveness: what would need to change?). The basic assumption of the paper is that if we facilitate the market systems to change from within rather than through a number of direct and distorting interventions, we have better and more sustainable results.

The challenge to unleash the power of markets to end poverty goes on. The MaFI-festo now entered the MIX, the annual Harvard Business Review/McKinsey M-Prize for Management Innovation.

We need your help to push the MaFI-festo up the ranks of this competition!

What you can do

To see the application go to

Find out more about the M-Prize go to:

[Update] Unfortunately, the MaFI-festo contribution was not selected as a finalist for this years MIX. Nevertheless, we keep on promoting this initiative with a lot of enthusiasm.

My network in LinkedIn – visualized

My friend Shawn Cunningham sent me an email with the visualization of his LinkedIn network and I was so fascinated that I had to see my network. The tool that does the visualization is called LinkedIn Maps. You can click on the map to enlarge it. Here is a link if you want to do your own network.

Visualization of my LinkedIn NetworkWhat’s the most fascinating thing about the map? Well, for one it shows the power of visualization. Individual parts of the network are shown in different colors and you can label them. I found networks that are composed of people I know from my work in the field of market facilitation, others from my work in Bangladesh or professional colleagues in Switzerland. That’s not really a new insight, but the visualization just makes it so much more clear and accessible.

This is exactly why I like causal loop diagrams. Although they might not be able to be used as model to predict how a system is behaving, they still help us to understand the structure of a system.

Another thing I can find on the visualization of the network are connections between people I haven’t known that they were connected. Also the network structure is interesting. Especially the blue network in the bottom has a clear hub, the other networks are more distributed.

I haven’t really done a lot of work in network theory but it is definitely a field that interests me since it is so strongly connected to (or even part of) complexity sciences. I shall take more time to read.


USAID event on complexity

I had the privilege to participate in a part of an event organized by USAID on embracing complexity and what this means for the agency. I participated by webinar, which unfortunately only covered the first half of the day. However, Ben Ramalingam, one of the speakers at the event, posted a summary of the day on his blog. I highly recommend to read his post here.