Shaping Change

Strategies for Development and Transformation

02.06.2008 · C·A·P


I. Aim and objectives

Democracy and market economy have become guiding ideas and jointly aspired institutions across the World. They have emerged in many countries due to auspicious international circumstances, disillusion about authoritarian models and, most importantly, strategic choice and skilful management by political actors. This knowledge of successful practitioners has mainly been confined to the given national setting or has usually been spread as sets of thumb rules and general wisdoms. Drawing on this rich but seldomly used knowledge base, the project seeks to compile and improve our strategies and skills of planning, managing, implementing and supporting development and transformation processes. Project activities focus on the following key objectives:

  • Defining strategies and success conditions to manage transformation and development;

  • Evaluating trajectories and outcomes of development and transformation across the World;

  • Identifying and transferring best practice among countries;

  • Optimizing external support for development and transformation.

II. Activities

Strategic approaches for change have to be tailored to the challenges posed by particular constellations of social, economic and political actors. In addressing the specific bottlenecks to change and progress, they can benefit from experience accumulated in the most recent wave of democratization. The project makes this experience and expertise accessible through four main activities:

Ranking of developing and transition countries

From Spring 2004 onward, we will produce a global ranking of countries on their way to democracy and market economy. This bi-annual expert survey combines qualitative in-depth evaluations and quantitative scores of the performance of 116 developing and transition countries. The ranking will measure the current state of democracy and market economy in a country, its evolution over the past five years and the quality of governance performed by its leadership, expressed in a Bertelsmann Transformation and Development Index. All evaluations are based on a standardized, comprehensive set of criteria and indicators reflecting the state of research on democratization and economic transformation.

Formulating country strategies

We elaborate strategies to manage development and transformation processes in selected countries that have embarked upon ambitious large-scale reforms, need external advice and are particularly relevant as models or for regional stability. It is envisaged to implement key elements of these strategies in cooperation with local decision makers and their advisors. Such targeted assistance rests on the transfer expertise from other parts of the World and the adaptation of our governance knowhow to the concerns of the local situation.

Advising and training reformers

We bring young reformers together to share their experience and to get acquainted with state-of-the-art knowledge of transformation and development. These meetings serve to enlarge the strategic designing and problem-solving capacities of young experts who are likely to take leading positions in their countries in the future. They rest upon the assumption that human resources are a decisive factor of successful change and can be improved by sophisticated training activities. Knowledge and skills are conveyed both by experienced practitioners and leading scholars who have been driving or studying comprehensive political and economic reform endeavours.

International transformation network

We involve practitioners and experts engaged in transformation and development in an international network based upon our internet presentation, conferences and our above-mentioned activities. The network is to support the diffusion of experience and knowhow across countries, facilitating the flow of good ideas, convincing concepts and proven practice.

III. Results

The project builds upon the Carl Bertelsmann Prize exercise: in 2001, the Bertelsmann Foundation awarded prizes for the most successful transition and developing countries which were selected in an international comparison of 34 most promising countries. The selection procedure has been documented in two volumes which provide a broad overview on achievements of democratization and market reform in the World. In addition, a country study covering the transformation of Russia has been published in Spring 2003. Further country studies deal with the options for a post-war order in Iraq and the paths of state-building in Afghanistan.

Forthcoming publications include a volume on the results of the global ranking and a handbook of transformation and development.

Project results will be shared on a homepage established by the project partners. The homepage contains electronic publications for download and an online data base related to the ranking.

IV. Management

The project is jointly run by the Bertelsmann Foundation, Gütersloh, and the Center for Applied Policy Research at Munich University. The project has started in January 2002 for a duration of four years.


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