How do you ensure your project team understands and can implement a systems-thinking approach to market systems development? Elizabeth Fustos and Amy Ostrander provide a promising framework and explore how one project used it for success.

This blog post originally appeared on the Market Systems Development Hub.

Focusing Project Design on MSD

​The facilitative, systems approach required for market systems development (MSD) is not always intuitive to project staff. Those accustomed to working on traditional development programming have focused on training for beneficiaries, and those coming from the private sector have focused on one business, not an entire system. That challenge became clear when a Chemonics-led team created the first work plan for the USAID Agriculture and Rural Development Support project (ARDS) in Ukraine in 2016. Despite feeling that the project team had a good grounding in the theory of the market systems approach, the work plan quickly filled with training and workshops. Chief of Party Patrick Rader and Deputy Chief of Party Kseniya Sydorkina decided to pause and develop a tool that would help the entire team think through market systems and create a more flexible plan.

The result was the MSD Analysis Framework, which we include with this blog post to promote greater sharing of practical tools for MSD implementation. The tool includes three straightforward stages as a framework to walk a team through the analysis of a market system: a) Background (identify opportunities and system constraints); b) Analysis Framework (identify needs and gaps in the system); and c) Strategic Framework (identify behaviors and processes that need to change, key outcomes, and solutions and interventions). In introducing the team to the tool to guide data and analysis driven implementation, Rader and Sydorkina developed four main principles to follow when using it. Read the full blog post on the Market Systems Development Hub.

Posts on the blog represent the views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Chemonics.