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Über dieses Buch

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH possesses over 30 years of experience in managing cooperation worldwide. It has now consolidated its comprehensive expertise by publishing this book. The management model Capacity WORKS is designed for everyone actually involved in cooperation: managers, executives, consultants and advisors in business, governance, public administration and the nonprofit sector. It provides a full introduction to the challenges of successful cooperation management, and supplies practitioners with tried and tested approaches. Five success factors (strategy, cooperation, steering structure, processes, and learning & innovation) delineate the various facets that help focus on the objectives and results of complex cooperation systems. The conceptual framework underlying the success factors is clearly set out, and the success factors are supplemented by an extensive toolbox to support practitioners working in these five areas.

At the same time the manual gives readers a broad insight into the world of cooperation management for sustainable development. It includes numerous practical examples, proven contexts of application and glimpses into the work of international cooperation.




Cooperation is the cornerstone of social development, no matter where in the world. People create societies through cooperation, and no actor can manage this process on their own. They can only achieve this through good cooperation relationships at the local level, within entire societies and increasingly across national borders. The days when only states and governments cooperated with each other are long gone. Civil society and private sector actors are now also joining cooperation systems, to help develop joint responses to urgent issues such as sustainable energy supply and climate change.

The model: an overview of Capacity WORKS

Capacity WORKS is a model that enables users to successfully manage cooperation systems. It is based on various elements that are mutually complementary.

Objectives and results

Did you know that Aristotle philosophised about the nature of change processes? He drew a number of distinctions that are helpful in the context of modern cooperation systems. Aristotle’s first assumption was that we can only understand change processes if we know what their causes are. We can equally well refer to changes as ‘results’. In other words we are talking about the cause-and-effect relationships that lead to these results.

Success Factor – Strategy

Actors often accept compromises when they take strategic decisions in a cooperation system. These decisions usually do not fully meet the interests of the various actors. Yet they often have a more long-term and fundamental effect than the actors responsible would have assumed when they actually took the decision.

Success Factor – Cooperation

Modern societies face major challenges. Profound changes, often affecting several policy fields, have gathered pace. How can societies increase the use of renewables in their energy mix while at the same time ensuring that their economies remain competitive? What contribution can the education system make to facilitating access to the financial system for poor sections of the population, thus promoting economic development and social equality? Individual actors – whether from the public sector, private sector or civil society – cannot master these challenges alone. Increasingly, many issues require interventions that are agreed and implemented across national borders.

Success Factor – Steering Structure

In cooperation systems the partners take all the necessary decisions together. What objectives do we wish to achieve? What strategy will we apply in order to achieve them? What specific interventions will this involve? These and many other questions must be answered if a cooperation system is to be capable of action. Unlike in organisations, there is no line manager who can resolve deadlock or take quick decisions. In a cooperation system the actors share this responsibility. The individuals involved must be able to distinguish between the logic of their home organisation, and the logic of cooperation, in order to be able to work effectively in both contexts.

Success Factor – Processes

What have the cities of Cottbus in Germany, Saint-Denis in France, Christchurch in New Zealand and Rosario in Argentina got in common? For a number of years citizens there have been able to participate directly in determining their municipal budget. They decide for instance which infrastructure measures are to receive priority, and review at the end whether these have also been implemented. Local authorities are not legally obliged to directly involve the population in budgeting issues. Nevertheless, local policymakers and senior administrators have decided to give local cooperation systems a fresh boost by introducing participatory budgeting. This means that a new social practice has arisen in these cities, which is an example of how steering tasks for local development can be performed jointly by public, civil society and private actors.

Success Factor – Learning and Innovation

How do cooperation systems learn? And how can we tell that they have learnt something? The answer is, when a cooperation system adapts to changed requirements. Successful cooperation management focuses on ensuring that learning capacity is developed on all three levels. Within a society, frameworks are adjusted, and cooperation relationships improve. Organisations then learn to continuously raise quality as they help achieve the joint objective. And the individuals within those organisations develop their competencies, and jointly shape learning processes so that they can help generate sustainable results in their specific context. In conjunction with the changes within organisations and cooperation systems, these human learning processes help create an enabling environment for launching and operationalising innovations.

Success factor Strategy

Developing a strategy means working through a process. To help you structure this process, Capacity WORKS offers a recommended sequence of steps and corresponding tools in the strategy suite. In each step, you can choose from and in some cases combine a variety of tools, depending on your specific needs.

Success factor Cooperation

Actors who hold at least a potential stake in the changes to be brought about by a project, for example, are also referred to as stakeholders. The material resources, social position and knowledge of these actors make them particularly potent, which enables them to wield significant influence over the design, planning and implementation of a project.

Success factor Steering structure

Any project is a temporary cooperation system. Each project therefore needs its own, tailor-made steering structure to supply it with decisions. There are no blueprints, because projects operate within different organic structures and coordination mechanisms, which should be taken into account when elaborating the steering structure.

Toolbox | Success factor Processes

  • When you use this tool, start by deciding on a focus: What do you want to depict? The permanent cooperation system (area of social concern)? Or the temporary cooperation system (the project)?
  • Mapping the processes of a permanent cooperation system allows you to analyse the current status of the area of social concern and to:
  • identify or clarify the ‘raison d’être’ of the area of social concern (as regards the provision of services for a society);
  • assess the achievement of objectives in the permanent cooperation system (access, costs, quality);
  • identify responsibilities and mandates in the area of social concern;
  • draw up an overview and take stock of processes in the permanent cooperation system;
  • identify the need for change in the area of social concern;
  • devise possible points of entry for a project.

Success factor Learning & innovation

One key issue that arises when dealing with change processes in any area of social concern is how you can achieve results that are as broad-based as possible. Scaling-up is one way of replicating innovative, tried-and-tested approaches on a wider scale. Taking the learning cycle of variation, selection and restabilisation as a basis, innovative approaches often emerge as part of variation, i. e. through minor or major modifications to the established routines in the area of social concern. These variations can prove invaluable when it comes to identifying innovative, tried-andtested approaches that can be scaled up.


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