Strategy Testing: An Innovative Approach to Monitoring Highly Flexible Aid Programs

The attached new Asia Foundation paper describes an exciting new monitoring system developed by The Asia Foundation called Strategy Testing (ST). “ST was developed to track programs that are addressing complex development problems through a highly iterative, adaptive ‘searching’ approach. Traditional monitoring methods are designed to track progress in linear, largely pre-planned projects where the result and the path to achieving it are known from the outset. Such methods are poorly suited to contexts where specific results emerge over time in the course of implementation, and where there is a need to track shifts in program strategy and action. ST is designed to fill this gap. The paper provides a detailed description of the ST approach and the tools developed to facilitate the process. It also briefly outlines key insights on what flexible programming means in practice, using examples from the Foundation’s experience of conducting four rounds of ST across initiatives in 10 countries, and concludes with a series of critical reflections on the ST tool. These insights may be of particular interest to practitioners who may want to adapt the ST approach in their own programs