This paper attempts to provide a new conceptual framework and practical recommendations for capacity enhancement initiatives for social development. Most such initiatives have been conventional short courses or self-contained training modules for sharing “tools” and disseminating “best practices,” to enhance the technical skills of task managers and policymakers, whether they be donors, colleagues, or clients. All of these tasks are valuable, but need to be understood as part of a broader discussion that recognizes the range of decisionmaking involved in devising, implementing, maintaining, and evaluating effective responses to poverty. The paper argues that conventional capacity enhancement approaches and the underlying assumptions on which they rest—that the fundamental development problem is one of inadequate technical skills, which in turn give rise to “bad policies” and “weak institutions”—conspire against recognizing the importance and comparative advantage of social development. This advantage lies in social development’s emphasis on context and process.