Aid and development by design: local solutions to local problems

Adrian Flint*, Christian Meyer Zu Natrup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
231 Downloads (Pure)


This article makes a case for a reconceptualisation of aid and development programme design. Specifically, it questions the role of the international “development expert” in the design and implementation process. We argue that by employing “design thinking” as a guiding principle, the way in which aid programmes are envisaged and delivered can be radically overhauled, resulting in dramatically improved outcomes for the users of aid. We argue that practical improvements in delivery are achievable through locally rooted, “user-driven” development solutions that originate from the beneficiaries themselves. Design thinking as applied here goes significantly further than other programme design and implementation methodologies that champion locally owned, needs-driven assistance. Furthermore, we make a case for this approach addressing wider problems within the sector, namely the perception, in some quarters, that aid is intrinsically “neo-imperialist” in design and ideologically driven.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-219
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopment in Practice
Issue number2
Early online date14 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2019


  • Aid – Aid effectiveness
  • Methods
  • Partnership
  • Civil society – Participation


Dive into the research topics of 'Aid and development by design: local solutions to local problems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this