Adaptive Leadership in Development

The University of Queensland Business & Management

Target Audience

Participants should have experience, or a strong interest in working in development. While not compulsory, it is recommended that learners have completed a bachelor degree in a relevant discipline.


Being a leader in development means working in complex and challenging contexts. Projects rarely run as planned, and managers need to be flexible and adaptive in their approach.

This course will teach you the skills to tackle complex problems in developing – and developed – countries. You will learn how problems in development contexts are always complex – no matter how simple they may appear at first. You will learn strategies for how to dig deeper into the problem and come up with solutions that address the real issues. You will learn techniques and practical tools for understanding local context, and ways to lead effectively. This course will also expose you to the disconnect between policy and practice.

Uncertainty is a way of life in development, and leaders need the skills to adapt and excel in this space. Join us to learn effective strategies for being an adaptive leader in development.

Learning Objectives

What you’ll learn:

– To appreciate the fundamental mismatch between policy and practice in development
– To understand the importance of having context, and in finding local solutions to local problems
– Skills in adaptive development practice, in the cycles of experimentation, learning, iteration and adaptation
– To discern strategies to overcome political challenges and broker new collaborations
– To comprehend how to measure progress and manage performance when working adaptively
– To diffuse results from practice, by taking them to scale and influencing policy