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CERT2020: Creating A Global Standard for OD Competence

by Glen B. Earl, Ph.D.

In my role as project manager for the CERT2020 project, I have the ongoing opportunity to reflect upon our profession and what it means to be an OD practitioner. One area that continually comes to the forefront is the need and the desire to make the field of Organization Development truly international. From my perspective and experience, I firmly believe for the Organization Development Network to stay relevant, and continue to be positive change agents, we must be a vibrant global organization.

With good fortune, the CERT2020 team was created with interested and committed OD Network members from Canada, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany and the United Kingdom, in addition to several members from eight different US states.

In working with our non-US CERT2020 team members, and reflecting on my experience of working in 12 different countries, it becomes more clear that there is a critical need for the OD Network to continue its international focus, working closely in areas with a strong OD presence — like ODN Japan and ODN Europe — and to develop our presence more fully in areas of emerging OD presence, like India, Australia and the Middle East. Finally, for us, the OD Network membership, we have the opportunity to be courageous, to be adventurous and bring OD to much of the globe, like Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

I invite all OD Network members to consider what they can do and will do to further our global outreach. It may start with members of similar interests and industries having a conversation. Modern technology like Skype and Zoom make this very easy. It may be members from different countries working together on a paper that explores OD practices from their respective countries; what is different, what is similar. And finally, it may be volunteering with outreach opportunities. One example is retaining current members and encouraging OD practitioners becoming OD Network members.

Cert2020 is a project designed to create an OD Practitioner Certification. It has started now and will be completed in the calendar year 2020. Its goal and purpose is to provide an understandable and useful benchmark for practitioners and employers/clients around the globe. Our intent is to provide the customer and recipient an assurance that the holder understands and can practice the core elements of OD, regardless of where they may live or work.

In addition, the certification is designed so the OD Network can “put a stake into the ground”, stating, “This is what it means to be a qualified OD practitioner.”

We are in the early stages of developing this certification. Right now we are completing the Business Case. Our next step is to ensure the certification process aligns with the Global OD Practice Framework. If you would like to be involved with this project check out volunteer opportunities in the Practitioner Development category on our website, or email

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