1. THE CORE OF THE BUINC’S ROLE IN NOVA’S BUSINESS PROCESSES
In Nova’s business processes, the BUInc strives to be a center of excellence in combining technological innovation and social innovation with households and local communities in one synergic procedure.
This activity entails a core value of Nova, because “working with households” is an essential element of efforts to promote a healthy household culture, and to avoid doing harm to vulnerable households by raising hopes that cannot be sustained. It is also important in lowering the risk of being blamed later when things may not have turned out as expected and intended.
The principle that the BUInc must promote is the combination of technological innovation and social innovation with households and local communities in one synergic procedure, but the practice, that is, the way in which the principle is applied differs according to the type of work that Nova does.
2. THE “PARTICIPATORY CONTINUUM” OF STEVE CORBETT AND BRIAN FIKKERT
Community projects can be ranked according to the “Participatory Continuum” of Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert (When helping hurts. How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor...and yourself, 2012: 140):
Coercion: Local people submit to predetermined plans developed by outsiders: “doing to”
Compliance: Local people are assigned to tasks, often with incentives, by outsiders; the outsiders decide the agenda and direct the process: “doing for”
Consultation: Local people’s opinions are asked; outsiders analyse and decide on a course of action: “doing for”
Cooperation: Local people work with outsiders to determine priorities; responsibility remains with outsiders for directing the process: “doing with“
Co-learning: local people and outsiders share their knowledge to create appropriate goals and plans, and to evaluate results: “doing with”
Community initiated: Local people set their own agenda and mobilize to carry it out without outside initiators and facilitators: “responding to”.
3. NOVA WORKS IN DIFFERENT TYPES OF BUSINESS PROCESSES/TYPES OF PROJECTS
The ideal is to work with the approaches e. Co-learning and f. Community initiated. However, the fact that this is not always practically possible is discussed below.
The following types of projects are done by Nova:
e. Co-learning: this is done where Nova gets enough funding or is in the position to make enough funding and other resources available to allocate ample time to the process to work with households in developing a domestic practice
c. Consultation and d. Cooperation: this is done where Nova acts as a consultant for another party and is under pressure to produce quick results
4. THE ROLE OF THE BUINC IN 5. CO-LEARNING TYPE OF PROJECTS
The BUInc has different tasks in this business procedure, namely to:
• Raise funds for early phase development of projects that Nova decides are important
• Give ample time to cooperate intensively with households; it can take a few years for a solution to emerge, e.g. Basa took more than two years to emerge
• When a domestic practice that complies with our criteria has emerged in at least a few houses, the BUI works with the BUImp to develop procedures to take it to scale
• When projects are initiated and/or executed by parts of Nova other than the BUInc itself, the BUInc advises these projects regarding the combination of technological and social innovation
5. THE ROLE OF THE BUINC IN PROJECTS WHERE NOVA ACTS AS CONSULTANT TO OTHER PARTIES
The BUInc has different roles in this business procedure, namely to:
• Work with the rest of the team to influence the outside party to move away from “doing for households” towards “doing with households” and even beyond that to “households doing everything for themselves” – which would be the ideal end result, if households maintain and spread the solution on their own; this should be done in all phases of the project:
o Contracting phase. The BUInc can advise on the terms of engagement: firstly the strategy to promote the principle of working with households within the intended project and, if there is no reasonable prospect of doing so, the BUInc may advise against accepting the contract
o Implementation phase: Develop arguments for moving away from “doing for households” towards “doing with households” and even beyond that to “households doing everything for themselves”, based on evidence that emerges from the projects themselves
• Grapple with the questions of advocacy. The role of the BUInc is to consider the role of advocacy in all phases, such as:
o Reflect on how we envision Nova’s form/style of advocacy (e.g. do we follow Richard H Thaler’s book Nudge or do we have our own style?)
o Build awareness of the types of advocacy we do not agree with, for example the kind which thrives on sensationalism, but which in effect has no (little/a negative?) impact on the actual community of focus (for example our experience with Groundworks)
o When to say no to a certain kind of capital
o How to do advocacy (skills development)
o Create capacity for advocacy (e.g. funding)
6. BUILDING RELATIONS WITH COMMUNITIES
Relations with communities are important in all phases of community work:
i. The principle that the BUInc must promote, also when building relations with communities, is the combination of technological innovation and social innovation, but the practice in which the principle is applied again differs according to the type of work that Nova does
ii. The entry point is important as foundation for meaningful relations, including mutual trust and shared objectives
a. In the Basa projects, for example, we often started by contacting a person who knows the community well but that does not have a certain agenda to promote apart from the common good; in other cases we may find that there is already a stakeholder meeting in place
iii. Early phase development requires close interaction with a limited number of households
iv. Implementation requires relations on a bigger scale
v. Long term maintenance often requires the absence of Nova, and that households take ownership and maintain interventions themselves. It is important to plan such an exit strategy from the beginning, or, if that is not possible, to plan for the support that will be needed (back-casting, institutional innovation)
7. UNDERSTANDING THE WAY HOUSEHOLDS EXPERIENCE THINGS
Households respond to things according to the way they experience them within their context. Understanding the way households experience things include the measurable and the intangible sides of understanding. Such understanding comes through being present with households as well as structured processes such as interviews and group discussions, and integrating qualitative and quantitative research.
8. NETWORKING, BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS WITH PARTIES SUCH AS KNOWLEDGE INSTITUTIONS
Building relations with others who also do what the BUInc is doing is a task of the BUInc. The programme of involving M-students from different universities forms part of this; it is a way to recruit staff and to build long term relations with lecturers and university department in order to form coalitions and to find new sources for funding.
9. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND INTEGRATION
The BUInc is responsible for the management and integration of qualitative and tacit knowledge and the BUInf is is responsible for the management and integration of quantitative knowledge
Nova offers a range of services to corporate entities, governmental organisations and NGOs including Community Surveys, Consultancy and Corporate Social Responsibility Project Research and Development.
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