At Building State Capability (BSC), we believe that problems are entry points to change and working in teams is the vehicle for change. 

We train public sector teams around the world to work iteratively to solve their own nominated problems. We collaborate with organizations to offer an action-based learning program for teams in multiple countries. We train practitioners in executive programs through blended learning, as well as applied action learning – where the concepts are turned into practice. 

Complex problem-solving is a journey of discovery that allows the emergence of skills and solutions. Local solutions for local problems.

We mobilize local talent, foster broader, more inclusive conversations, build coalitions, engage authorizers, and contextualize policy. 

We resolve public problems with purpose. 

“Some people think that state capability is about laws, regulations, and rules. We think that it's about people who are empowered with processes that they can use to build momentum to get things done.”

Matt Andrews

The capability of the state to implement its policies and programs is a key constraint to improving human development.

Many government policies and reforms fail to deliver results. Schools get built, but children do not learn; IT systems are introduced but no one uses them; and plans are written but not implemented.

Our research ties such failure to the tendency of governments to adopt external ‘solutions’ that do not fit their context and overwhelm their capability to implement policies and programs. 

We have developed a dynamic step-by-step approach called Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) to empower action, facilitate the emergence of local solutions, and create new capabilities to solve public problems. We build capability by delivering results.

We have a wide variety of tools and resources available to learn more about our work and the PDIA approach. Our content is in the public domain, available in multiple formats, and has been translated to reach the audiences who need it the most. We believe in scaling by diffusing our tools and approach. 

Our tools include:

  • PDIA Toolkit

  • BSC book

  • Self-paced guides

  • Case studies

  • Podcasts 

Since 2012 we have trained and directly engaged 4,000 practitioners in 150 countries. We have created a community of practitioners and policymakers working on implementing public policies. We hope to create a global community that collaborates, learns, shares, and grows together, ultimately leading to more successful development outcomes. 

Faculty Leadership

Matthew Andrews Photo

Matthew Andrews

Edward S. Mason Senior Lecturer in International Development