Main fields of expertise

  • Continuous exploration and learning in teams and organisations
  • Adaptive decision-making under conditions of uncertainty
  • Monitoring and evaluation of systemic change initiatives
  • Narrative and participatory sensemaking
  • Market Systems Development
  • Knowledge network and community of practice facilitation

Working experience

Since 2015: Partner of Mesopartner
2014-2017: Lead, monitoring, impact evaluation and evidence, the BEAM Exchange
2011-present: Member of the backstopping team for the employment and income network of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
2011-2015: Independent consultant in market systems development and systemic approaches
2009-2011: Programme officer at Intercooperation (now HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation), Bangladesh

Marcus has a background in environmental sciences. He is Swiss and has been working in international development for ten years. He started his own consultancy in 2011. He joined Mesopartner as an associate in 2012 and became a partner in 2015. Marcus’ work has had a particular focus on market systems approaches for economic development.

It is Marcus’ goal to bring systemic approaches to international development. He wants to contribute to the development of healthy systems, where poverty reduction is part of the economy and society.

Marcus is supporting various programs and projects during design, inception and implementation. In addition, he has been building knowledge in complex systems theory and other scientific fields through various trainings and research engagements. Based on that, has been actively engaged in conceptual work around systemic approaches to economic development, improving the way projects are designed, delivered, monitored and evaluated. He has significantly shaped Mesopartner’s Systemic Insight approach.

Marcus’s key competences:

Systemic, interdisciplinary development: Ten years of experience in interdisciplinary, systemic development. Ability to conceptualize, implement, monitor, and evaluate systemic development programs in complex contexts at the interplay of the social, economic, and environmental spheres. Strong focus on achieving and assessing systemic change.

Market and enterprise development approaches: Systemic Insight, Innovation Systems, Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P), Value Chain Development (VCD), Local/Territorial Economic Development (LED/TED). 

Narrative approaches to monitoring and research: Application of narrative research projects using Cognitive Edge’s SenseMaker® approach in various contexts. In particular, use of narrative research and SenseMaker® to assess changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.

Personal background

Born 1980. Diploma (MSc) in Environmental Sciences from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, 2007.

Marcus currently lives in Gateshead, UK.

Marcus regularly blogs on jenal.org

View Marcus’ LinkedIn profile

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Mesopartner Working Paper 16  
Gaining systemic insight to strengthen economic development initiatives. Drawing on systems thinking and complexity theories to improve developmental impact. This working paper provides a theoretical grounding for the work we have done in the last three years and will continue…  
Rethinking systemic change: economic evolution and institutions technical paper  
In this work, we question the utility of the concept of systemic change in market systems development as it is currently used and suggest that we need a rethink. Systems continuously change and evolve, also without external development actors. The aim of development must be to…  
Rethinking systemic change: economic evolution and institutions  
In this work, we question the utility of the concept of systemic change in market systems development as it is currently used and suggest that we need a rethink. Systems continuously change and evolve, also without external development actors. The aim of development must be to…  
LED - An Overview  
As part of it’s support for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s (SDC) employment and income (e+i) network, Marcus Jenal of Mesopartner contributed to the development of an overview of current thinking and practice in Local Economic Development (LED). The process…  
Explore, Scale Up, Move Out: Three Phases to Managing Change under Conditions of Uncertainty  
IDS Bulletin. Private sector development is dominated by the use of ‘good practice’ solutions, driven by a desire of the development donors to control the outcome of development initiatives – with limited success. Bottom-up participatory approaches are more appropriate to find…  
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