What can social marketing bring to the Capacity Development table?

I recently had the pleasure of working with Robbie Gregorowski and Mel Punton at development consultancy, Itad, and two fellow Itad associates, Pete Cranston and Isabel Vogel. We were tasked with briefing the Global Environment Facility on the latest thinking in capacity development and our research led us to develop a conceptual framework which we call the CD2 framework, for short.

Robbie has just posted a summary of the CD2 framework on the Itad blog and we’re hoping that people working in capacity development will share their views on what we have presented as the core components of CD2.  But in this post, I want to reflect briefly on the relationship between social marketing and capacity development.

In our desk-based research we looked at what capacity, and capacity development mean, and a central idea for our team was that capacity involves the ability of a society or sector to continue to develop necessary skills, behaviours, networks and institutions that enable communities to adapt and self-renew into the future.

Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Emw
Random image to illustrate self-renewal: the BMI-1 protein – essential for self-renewal and also very pretty.

Our team believes that a “CD1 approach” to capacity development focuses on building the skills that are needed so that something can be done to meet today’s requirements: collect data, write a report, manage a project, produce a strategy, etc. If we take a CD2 approach then we’re still aiming to build skills but also support new attitudes and behaviours, and work upstream to shift institutional relationships so that these behaviours can be sustained.

My social marketing radar starts to bleep whenever the word “behaviours” is in range and in my experience, capacity development activities (in a development context) haven’t paid sufficient attention to behavioural theories. In future posts on the Itad blog, our team is going to look at the implications of putting the CD2 framework into practice. I’m going to stick my oar in now and say that one major implication is that all programmes aimed at building capacity need to be underpinned by behavioural theory if they’re going to have a decent chance of being successful beyond the immediate skills-building effects. A NICE (sorry!) place to start for ideas is the guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

How to get engaged (with your stakeholders)

What better day than 14th February to think about getting engaged? Last week I came across the kind of document I love to see: a short, snappy, practical summary of some tools for analysing stakeholders from IDS. The authors explain four key tools; some are pretty familiar to marketing folk e.g. Alignment Interest Matrix (AIM), while others are less commonly seen outside of development, such as Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis.

It got me thinking about some of the ways people working in fields such as marketing, organisational change, etc. look at stakeholders and whether these might be of relevance to people wanting to engage research stakeholders.

One tool that I think is under-used is Peter Block’s matrix which positions stakeholders in term of level of Trust and Agreement with you. It takes the AIM tool a step further to factor in relationships between people and I’ve found it really helpful when I’m in situations where how much people like me is my only source of power. I often use it when I’m teaching project management (given that project managers often have to cajole people to contribute when they have no hierarchical mandate). I imagine it could be useful for think tanks who are trying to influence stakeholders with whom they have some level of existing relationships (negative or positive).

The Block matrix is explained nicely by the TeamSTAR Project with some advice on how to work with each group e.g. with Opponents (where there’s trust but disagreement) are people you can have a constructive discussion with because you already have an established relationship and may end up reviewing your viewpoint or reframing it. Sticking with Peter Block and the power of personal connections (this post is fast becoming a Valentine’s card to his work…) his “six conversations” methodology for civic engagement is really worth a read.

Finally, a shameless plug for something I wrote for IDS. The Organisational Decision Making Unit (or the buying centre) is a nifty piece of marketing thinking that people working in research uptake might consider to identify who your stakeholders might be influenced by. I’ve tried to find a development-friendly summary online but am stumped (please tell me if you find one) so meanwhile check out p.17 of Who Are We Aiming To Reach?