Less is more
Those of you who have been following the development of this website must have observed by now that it's content has dramatically been reduced.
This has been the result of a friendly remark of one of my potential business partners. Potential as he told me in plain Dutch that the website contained to much 'bla bla'. Thank you Jan! An honest friend means much more than a polite neighbor. So hopefully the picture you had about URAIDE and what it can do for you has sharpened as a result, though I am sure much can still be improved.
At the same time more space has been created for new product development. As co-creation is the buzz-word today, ready-made products are not well conceived.
Hence the launch of a new 'open' product that may serve your personal learning trajectory. I refer to U®Academy (or YourAcademy). The name may be a bit misleading, as this is not about a new educational institution. It rather is a learning support facility that keeps you on-track in your business while entering new configurations of cooperation and joint resource planning.
As the state more and more functions as a guarantor of public services rather than a provider, business parties are increasingly requested to step into public service delivery. This results in public-private partnerships where the implementation efficiency of the private sector is combined with the public authority over project implementation.
2nd generation PPPs
This second generation public-private partnerships require also a change of business for private parties. U®Academy supports them adapting to these changes and adopting a new business model that is based on synergy rather than competition.
What is important to note is the impact this may have on civil society space. Talking about blurred pictures, boundaries between public authorities and private implementers may blur as a result, causing confusion in accountability questions. As a result, civil society space may diminish and freedom of enterprise and good governance may be obscured.
It will therefore be advisable to provide for civil society space right from the start of any PPP. How this can be done in an effective manner is something U®Academy may help you to explore.
Connecting minds and hearts?
European Research funding sets the stage for social innovation agenda within member states and bordering countries.
A last shot is fired to provide cover for the European Project. Many months of prepration have resulted in this last attempt to set the stage for Social Innovation in Europe.
Despite the increasing fragility of its members states (or should we say 'thanks to') the European Commission is throwing in her last resort option: massive funding to connect the minds of the European brightest thinkers.
The EC has been grippling with a decreasing demand from industries that already shifted their focus to Asia and South America where emerging economies supply fresh minds and souls for their modernization agenda's. This FP7 call is a last attempt to connect the minds of scientists to the hands of industries. It's successor, the new Horizon 2020 programme will hopefully finally endeavor to make the heart connection.
Because that's what is missing in the European project: heart connections. Many social entrepreneurs have been calling for this but had to divert their voice to audiences in Asia and southern nations where more ears were listening. The 'Dance4Life' type of festivals lost the battleground to souls that still dwell on individual gain as the main driver of change. Which may be true, but the change it drives is not supported by many.
Let us hope the bits and pieces in this last call for action of FP7 targeting social innovation, will manage to make the heart connection between Europeans of different origin, but also between Europeans, Africans, Asians and South-Americans (and possibly even North-Americans) in a common thrive for more durable ways of living.
More information on this call on YourAcademy pages.
It was at a Partners voor Water gathering at Nieuwspoort in 2010 that I first heard of 'Financial Engineering'. Until then I would have refered to the geeks from the financial districts.
Checking investopedia I found financial engineering to mean "The creation of new and improved financial products through innovative design or repackaging of existing financial instruments". Did we not identify something similar to be at the roots of the recent financial crises? How come this term enters the area of development cooperation?
Only recently, when engaging with a number of funds that support Public-Private Partnerships. I realized that partnership development is not just about relationships, trust, transparency and the like, but is also about 'financial engineering'. May be not exactly in the meaning as described above. But it has similar features: How do you combine a number of financing and accountability frameworks dealing with different backdonor requirements still ensuring achieving your results?
The donor coordination gatherings in Paris, Accra and Busan have at least helped to get a certain degree of harmonization in funding frameworks of development agencies. However, now having to make the match with commercial banking, IFI's and private foundations again requires an entire overhaul of the system of accountability and reporting in case yo wish to treddle this path.
Financing and Accountability frameworks
In an attempt to reform their financing and accountability frameworks, many agencies are adopting the FAF of their major investor, which in certain cases may be a sensible thing to do. However, in case this investor appears to be less long-term then you had hoped, you have built your financing and accountability framework on foreign ground. My advice to agencies is to ensure the rigour of your own financing and accountability structure, matching it with your core mandate and mission and to contextualize it to the different donor demands. Second rule is: Keep it Simple and SMART. In the end investors do not have much time to read and need clear results.
Marrying the development and business financial and accountability frameworks in the context of public-private partnerships provides an excellent breeding ground for new varieties of financing and accountability systems. Still a lot of financial engineering to be done possibly leading to 'GMO-types' of programmes. Let us be careful to ensure the reproductive power of these hybrids is maintained in order to sustain these models beyond transition time.
New Tender new chances
As the new tender "Worldwide working with water" opens on July 16, new options for financial engineering may appear. As a participant in DIBcoop I will be following up on this tender. Naturally, anyone that wishes to make use of our services, guiding your company or organization through the tender procedure, is welcome to get in touch and we will keep you posted.
My name is Reinier van Hoffen.
Click here for a summary.
Also find the text of a lecture Dr. Achterhuis held at the 2012 Bilderberg conference.
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