Kevin Jenkins

20 October, 2015

This is the first post in a four-week series of guest blogs by influencers in the civil society sector, reflecting on ideas and topics brought up in the book The Hedgehog and the Beetle – Disruption and Innovation in the Civil Society Sector by Burkhard Gnärig. The below blog by Kevin J. Jenkins, President and Chief Executive Officer of World Vision International, draws inspiration from the Beetle in the book’s title.

Photo: Kevin Jenkins gets to grips with the mechanics of development, with Sheyara, a young friend in Sri Lanka.


Every few years, a book comes along that captures the mood of the aid sector. Stiglitz’s Globalization and Its Discontents, Collier’s Bottom Billion, Banerjee and Duflo’s Poor Economics – each gave us something to think about, provoked debate about issues of real concern, and even dared to propose solutions knowing that the prescriptions would be controversial.

Whether The Hedgehog and the Beetle will have the same sector-focusing impact remains to be seen. It may be too much of an ‘insider story’ for mass appeal – but that could also be an advantage. Burkhard gets ‘under the hood’ with his toolkit and exposes the hidden parts which aren’t working the way we’d like. He wants us to think about adjustments we must make – and the cost of the labour and parts.

This is not a routine service. We need to do a major overhaul … while the engine is running. MORE