Skip to Main Content
Access your saved content
Although NGOs and government agencies have been able to slow some of the effects of poverty, disease and other chronic global development problems, they are nowhere near to overcoming them.
However, new research points to promise in the coming convergence of solutions among businesses as well as NGOs and governments.
Will we ever eradicate malaria? Can humankind make a dent in childhood malnutrition or gender inequities? Is it realistic to expect that most people on the planet will have access to clean water within the lifespans of those alive today?
Not if we have only our present solutions and structures to rely upon. Entrenched problems such as these have long resisted the very best efforts of the most able non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the most committed governments and development agencies.
Accenture anticipates a cross-sector convergence of solutions to development problems—an approach that puts the needs of those most affected squarely at the heart of the matter.
Accenture defines convergence, in the context of global development, as the convergence of issues and interests and, most importantly, of solutions, with an unwavering emphasis on the outputs and impact rather than on organization structures and long-established and often stereotypical roles. Convergence of solutions means that all participants pivot continually around the same sets of requirements of those in need.
Convergent solutions will not have neat straight lines around them with clearly defined organizational and sector boundaries. Accenture sees an opportunity for more complex forms of collaboration that involve multi-stakeholder coalitions and that seek to affect systemic change on wide-ranging issues.
In the future we are likely to see a new breed of organization that doesn’t fit neatly into the standard descriptors used in the private, public or non-profit sectors. These will be hybrids—organizations that have some of the attributes of each or all. Their leaders will think and act in terms of a convergent value chain—a flexible model in which different participants play different roles at different times, according to the recipients’ needs and according to which entity has the necessary mix of skills and resources.
There are no simple fixes for the world’s development challenges. As one new idea—one new response to those challenges—cross-sector convergence holds great promise, but it is a long road and a rocky one. We don’t pretend that NGOs and businesses will start seeing eye to eye next year or the year after that, even if they do begin to reconcile some of their short-term vs. long-term mismatches. And we don’t expect any easy resolution to the convergent issues that span several of the MDGs—the most far-reaching and intractable problems such as poverty.
But responses to those problems must begin somewhere. Our research confirms that there are many catalysts for convergence, and many leaders in every sector who are willing and ready to help transform the convergence trend into viable, scalable solutions for the world’s least advantaged.
The vision of development convergence is a tantalizing one. But it will take everyone’s best efforts to become a reality. We look forward to hearing your ideas about how that can happen.
Gib Bulloch is the co-Founder and Executive Director of Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP), a not-for-profit consulting group within Accenture, whose clients include many of the major international NGOs and development agencies. Gib joined Accenture’s strategy practice in 1996 and worked as a management consultant to multi-nationals for several years, before taking on the leadership of a feasibility study and pilot of ADP in 2002.
Chris Jurgens is the Director of Global Programs for Accenture Development Partnerships. He also directly manages ADP’s client relationships with organizations including CARE, Grameen Foundation, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Women’s World Banking. Prior to joining the ADP team in 2004, he worked in the Resources Strategy practice in London, where he focused on retail strategy and business transformation in the European utilities industry.
Peter Lacy leads Accenture's Sustainability Services business in EALA. He has more than a decade of experience focused on strategy and sustainability at Accenture, McKinsey, Andersen Consulting and a think tank and leadership development institute he set up in Brussels on behalf of Shell, Unilever, Microsoft, J&J along with INSEAD, London Business School and the EU Commission. He is an alumni of INSEAD, Cambridge University Business and Environment Programme and the University of Nottingham, where he graduated with a first class degree in Politics.
January 26, 2011
Skip Footer Links