Alfredo Ortiz

Visiting Professor, Nonprofit Management and Social Change

I believe:

Working for social change means being willing to challenge the way things are done and what is perceived as normal by many people, including ourselves.  By placing ourselves in the development picture as both agents and subjects of change we can work with others to construct a more meaningful future.

What excites me:

Helping people in organizations and in the classroom to generate conversations that allow them to surface their understandings of change, including their deeper assumptions and worldviews that motivate them to see certain types of change as more desirable than others.  It is particularly exciting to me when I am able to effectively use creative approaches to help solve practical problems, while at the same time generating deeper conversations that help people see past their professional and other given roles, and relate as humans in actively supporting social change.  I am very interested in further developing capacity strengthening approaches that combine action and research, and use “embodied” techniques that help us expand beyond our rational selves and open up more possible doorways to change.



Organizational development and strategy, social change organizations, organizational sustainability

Recent Activities

This summer I co-designed and co-facilitated a workshop in Perú on participatory methodologies for development, focusing on how to use these methodologies in complex and contested social change environments.  I also designed a facilitated a dialogue (including workshop) to help other facilitators figure out how to approach and differentiate strategic planning processes with different labor unions in the Lima, Perú area.  Also this summer I taught two sessions in the Masters in Development Policy Program at the Polytechnic University in Valencia, Spain, on monitoring and learning in complex environments.  I also co-taught week three of the MIIS DPMI module on strategic partnerships.

Over the past two years I have been carrying out my PhD action-research fieldwork with two organizations in Peru (one which focuses on community development in peri-urban slums; and one activist think tank that works with social movements) and a private conservation organization in Northwest Ecuador.  I have been looking into what systemic methodologies can help these organizations develop the capacities to support meaningful social change in their complex and contested social change environments.


BA in Accounting and BA in Spanish (New Mexico State University), MA International Relations – Conflict Resolution and Development (St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX), Ph.D Development Studies (Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK

Selected Publications

  • ORTIZ ARAGÓN, Capacity building in complex environments—Seeking meaningful methodology for social change . Doctoral dissertation, (May 2013) [May be accessed from: ]
  • ORTIZ ARAGÓN, Shifting identity from within the conversational flow of organisational complexity. IDS Bulletin, 43, 3 (May 2012).
  • BURNS, HARVEY & ORTIZ ARAGÓN, Action Research for development and social change. IDS Bulletin, 43, 3 (May 2012).
  • ORTIZ ARAGÓN, A. 2010a. Capacity development and rural territorial dynamics (RTD): A documentation and interpretation of how capacity building is being understood and shaped within the RTD program. RTD Topical inquiries. Santiago: RIMISP.
  • ORTIZ ARAGÓN, A. 2010b. A Case for Surfacing Theories of Change for Purposeful Organisational Capacity Development. IDS Bulletin, 41, 36-46.
  • ORTIZ ARAGÓN, A. & GILES MACEDO, J. C. 2010. A 'Systemic Theories of Change' Approach for Purposeful Capacity Development. IDS Bulletin, 41, 87-99.
  • ORTIZ, A. 2009. Interpreting Worldviews and Theories of Change on Capacity Development of Social Change Organizations Brighton: IDS.
  • ORTIZ ARAGÓN, A. & TAYLOR, P. 2009. Learning purposefully in capacity development: Why, what and when to measure? In: IIEP (ed.) Rethinking capacity development. Paris: IDS.
  • TAYLOR, P. & ORTIZ, A. 2008. Doing things better? How capacity development results help bring about change. IDRC Strategic Evaluation of Capacity Development. Institute of Development Studies (IDS).
  • ORTIZ, A. 2001. Core Costs and NGO Sustainability: Towards a Donor-NGO Consensus on the Importance of Proper Measurement, Control & Recovery of Indirect Costs. Washington, DC: The Nature Conservancy.
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