I am not afraid of reform, innovation or change, but many people around the world are risk adverse. In developing countries some of this aversion is cultural, but usually leaders are concerned that reforms will cost money, jobs or public reputations.
Change becomes less frightening and more doable when donor funds are earmarked to test on a small scale or pilot a program. It helps if earmarked funding is from outside sources, so that there is minimal risk to the finances of an institution or organization.
Reputational risk can also be mitigated with donors or outside advisors are available to take the blame when a pilot program runs into problems. It is important for leaders to save face among their peers and public audiences when programs have problems. As an outsider, I let leaders know when I sell change that I am prepared to take public responsibility for mistakes and apologize if needed. Thankfully, it is rarely needed.