Starting in 1996, the Bertelsmann Stiftung produced a conceptual framework of development and transformation.
A commission of prominent experts developed criteria that allowed for a thorough, qualitative comparison of development and transformation processes. In evaluating performance, factors such as the initial conditions, level of difficulty, and development status of individual states were taken into consideration. As a comprehensive analysis, the project included both political and economic dimensions as well as the management of these processes on the part of actors. Thirty-nine transition and 17 developing countries were examined over a five-year period for an international study.
On September 12, 2001, the Bertelsmann Stiftung awarded the internationally renowned Carl Bertelsmann Prize
, "Shaping Change - Strategies of Transformation." Notable individuals from Bolivia and Poland were honored for their exemplary work in shaping the peaceful transition toward democracy and a market economy in their countries.
The present BTI project is based upon that conceptual groundwork and a global network of experts.