E Co. bites: How do you design a project with a paradigm shift in mind?

9 December 2020, Category: All insights, E Co. bites, Tags: ,

Watch our bite-sized and easily digestible video series, sharing our insights and experiences of designing low-carbon, climate-resilient development projects, across the globe. We discuss the who, where, what, why and hows behind successfully obtaining funding from major donors, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Global Environment Facility (GEF).


Speaker: Dr Jasmine Hyman

Question: How do you design a project with a paradigm shift in mind?

Well, my background used to be in the carbon market, where the challenge is how to roll out a particular technology — a cookstove, a water filter — out to the world. Designing projects for paradigmatic change is a totally different challenge — you don’t usually start with picking a winner in terms of a certain kind of cookstove or solar panel model. Instead, you start with a vision.

Let’s say you want to design a project to bring blue skies and clean air to a megacity. There’s a gathering process which we usually call “a market assessment” to understand how things work and potential strategies. We ask questions such as who will benefit from the project? How can they be incentivized to participate? Who are the policy makers that matter? And what are the perverse incentives to pollute? Also we start bringing people on board: usually there’s a development agency, local authorities, local organizations that know how to get communities involved, and buy-in from the private sector.

So rather than simply introducing a few low-carbon buses, E Co. would look to make a paradigmatic change by figuring out how a lasting and sustainable change in society can be brought about that will last even after donor funds run out: this includes awareness, capacity, institutional arrangements, policy and legislation, technology, and of course finance. It’s the whole enchilada. That’s the difference in approach.

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