Improved Implementation of Reconstruction Policy
 
U.S. Government (USG) response to post-conflict and disaster situations in the past four years has been largely reactive. In the case of Iraq, early technical reconstruction strategies were inflexible to the evolving security and political environments, and the USG proved itself unable to adapt. For example, in the reconstruction of Iraq's electricity sector, the USG provided combustion turbines, but did not implement any programs to ensure the consistent supply of associated fuels. As a result, Iraq must now import costly diesel or burn crude, worth an equivalent of up to $2B per year in potential lost income.  
 
I am interested in strengthening the role of design thinking and technological know-how to improve reconstruction policy and decision-making. Similar to the design of a consumer product, but more so, errors early in reconstruction planning result in costly financial and social outcomes. Design thinking, expanded to address political and bureaucratic constraints, has the potential to change how governments and societies approach and work in post-conflict and disaster situations. By examining the U.S.'s and other government's implementation of reconstruction policies, lessons can be learned to integrate design thinking for improved responses.

 
Related publications

K.M. Donaldson (2006), "The Challenge of Keeping Iraq's Lights On: A Critical Look at Electricity Reconstruction" Invited paper for Stabilizing Iraq: Options for Democracy, Security and Development Conference at the Freeman-Spogli for International Studies, Stanford University, March 17-18, Stanford

Return to main