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Development Innovation Ventures is attracting praise for its approach to frugal innovation. At the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Center for Global Development (CGD) and at the 2012 Skoll World Forum, DIV and its grantees were featured in discussions about how to bring innovation to development practice.
"In a time of austerity, innovative and cost-effective development solutions are in greater demand than ever," explained Daniel Runde and Nikki Collins of CSIS. "The traditional delivery of assistance can make it difficult for partner organizations to test new ideas or explore different methods for alleviating poverty due to cost and time constraints. At the same time, innovation can generate cost-effective and better ways to solve problems."
The event at CSIS featured DIV grantee James Long of the University of California, San Diego, whose research with colleague Michael Callen on a new election monitoring approach in Afghanistan yielded a 60% drop in stolen election materials and a 25% reduction in votes to the most well-connected candidates.
Professor William Jack and Dr. James Habyarimana from Georgetown University held a discussion at CGD on March 15 about their study to reduce the second-leading cause of youth's deaths worldwide--road accidents. Joined by Dr. Michael Kremer, DIV Scientific Director and professor of economics at Harvard University, the scientists unpacked the findings that simply encouraging passengers to "heckle and chide" reckless minibus drivers in Kenya cut accident insurance claims by half and claims involving injury or death by two-thirds. With DIV support, Jack and Habyarimana will expand the program to reach 10,000 minibuses and test different messaging media.
"Aid agencies are not monolithic and sometimes use special offices or programs to promote experimentation," wrote CGD in its Evaluation Gap Update. "This is the case for Development Innovation Ventures, an office [...] with a strong emphasis on rigorous evaluation, learning and dissemination with a range of grants covering conceptual, pilot and scale-up phases."
"From Day One, donors and innovators have to think about the exit strategy," said Maura O'Neill to an audience of social innovators and investors at the Skoll World Forum. "Forcing this conversation is the new "philanthropy IP" that we bring, to encourage more robust development success."
TO LEARN MORE:
- Check out podcasts of USAID Chief Innovation officer Maura O'Neill and DIV grantee James Long talk about frugal innovation in development at CSIS
- Listen to Maura O'Neill discuss how to finance social enterprises "poised for major growth" at the Skoll World Forum
- Visit the "DIV model in detail" to understand how DIV supports solutions with robust track records of success.
Last updated: February 15, 2013