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Innovation

Hero Rats Are Making News Around the World!

Kirsten Spainhower's picture

Check out the story CNN is featuring on Hero Rats today. In the early days of the project Bart Weetjens of Apopo, the Dutch Company that implements Hero Rats, said that initially “Every where I went to apply for funding, we were just laughed at.” But in 2003 the Development Marketplace took his idea seriously and funded his project. Now Hero Rats are making news around the world.

Corruption and Finance: Are Innovative Firms Victims or Perpetrators?

Asli Demirgüç-Kunt's picture

Designing policies that promote innovation and growth is key to development. In many countries there is also considerable corruption, with government officials seeking bribes and many firms underreporting their revenues to the state to evade taxes. Might there be a set of reforms that allow policymakers to kill two birds with one stone, both reducing corruption and boosting innovation? New research suggests financial sector reform may be able to play this role.

In a recent paper with co-authors Meghana Ayyagari and Vojislav Maksimovic, we look at corruption—defined as both bribery of government officials and tax evasion—and how this is associated with firm innovation and financial development. Using firm-level data for over 25,000 firms in 57 countries, we investigate whether firms are victims, who pay more in bribes than they gain by underreporting revenues to tax authorities, or perpetrators, who gain more by avoiding taxes than they lose in paying bribes.

Of particular interest is the effect of corruption and tax evasion on innovative firms. Specifically, we explore the following questions:

Why Talking About Failure Matters?

Aleem Walji's picture

Aleem Walji at FailFaire Event on Monday, July 26th, 2010

How many of us succeed the first time we try something? I would venture to guess not many. But how often do we talk about what we learn from failure, how we would do things differently, and what others could do to avoid making the same mistakes as us? I would guess not often. But in dealing with technology, it's vitally important to do it, and do it quickly.

The Power of Innovation - free Webinar TODAY at 3PM EST

Ihssane Loudiyi's picture

Join Aleem Walji, formerly of Google.org, now the Practice Manager of WBI’s Innovation Team and one of the lead authors for a webinar to mark the launch of a special issue of Development Outreach magazine on “The Power of Innovation.”

Join webinar on WBI's 'The Power of Innovation'

Edith Wilson's picture

On Thursday, July 22, the World Bank Institute is launching a special e-issue of Development Outreach magazine whose theme is "The Power of Innovation," and we're inviting you to help us tell how innovation can be a game changer in solving the biggest global development problems.

Get involved by signing in to a special webinar on Thursday that will be led by WBI Innovation Practice Team Leader Aleem Walji, one of the lead authors of the Development Outreach special issue.

The webinar begins at 3 p.m., but sign in early -- by 2:30 or 2:45 p.m. -- because the number of participant slots is limited to 100.

In a post-crisis world, innovation may be the single most important driver of economic growth and competitiveness. The time is right to move development forward through creative uses of technology. We now have the capacity to scale up innovative approaches to meet the needs of people at the bottom of the pyramid when traditional markets fail to do the job.

How to do all this is detailed in "The Power of Innovation."  Top experts tell how to mobilize innovative solutions to reduce poverty--smarter, better, faster, and differently.

Ruminations on Innovation from TED

Aleem Walji's picture

What is it about TED and intellectual polyglots? I’m attending my second TED at Oxford this week and I’m struck by how I can meet a physicist, poet, musician, and blogger all in one person. Imagine what this does for unleashing creativity, imagination, and yes, innovation. While it’s not enough to bring diverse and intelligent people together and just expect brilliant results, the intellectual diversity inherent in a group has much to do with the quality of intellectual outputs and results.

Project Sunlight: Access, Reform, Accountability

Naniette Coleman's picture

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

James Madison

 

Browsing bills, bill and veto jackets and state contracts is not exactly my idea of a good time but it has its use, just ask the people of the State of New York where SunlightNY.com is promoting access, reform and accountability in both English and Spanish.  Created largely by the Office of the Attorney General and Blair Horner, a leading advocate for government transparency who was on loan to the office from the New York Public Interest Research Group, SunlightNY.com is an innovative approach to keeping the public engaged in government. An approach that’s seems to have no equal in the US. 

 

What Will Economic Recovery Look Like in Eastern Europe?

Paulo Correa's picture

Editor's Note: The following post was contributed by Paulo Correa, Lead Economist for Private Sector Development in the Europe and Central Asia Region of the World Bank.

International debate on the financial crisis has shifted attention to the potential drivers of the future economic recovery. The countries of Eastern Europe were hit hard by the global financial crisis, after having long enjoyed abundant international financing and large inflows of foreign direct investment that brought them high rates of growth, mainly through the expansion of domestic consumption. With the slowing of international trade and the indefinite tightening of financial conditions, sustained economic recovery will depend to a greater extent on productivity gains and growth in exports. 

Two important sources of expansion in firms’ productivity are learning and R&D. Economic research tells us that, depending on size and survival rate, younger firms tend to grow faster than older firms. Because the learning process presents diminishing returns, younger firms, which are in the early phases of learning, will learn faster and thus achieve higher productivity gains than older firms. Innovative firms are expected to grow faster too – R&D tends to enhance firm-productivity, while innovation leads to better sales performance and a higher likelihood of exporting.

Development Marketplace 2008 winner IDE Cambodia captures first Nestlé prize of $475,000

Tom Grubisich's picture

Development Marketplace 2008 winner International Development Enterprises Cambodia is the recipient of the first Nestlé “Creating Shared Value” prize worth $475,000.  The award will support IDE Cambodia to scale its micro-franchise agricultural program that has substantially raised the income of participating Cambodian farmers (photo at left).

IDE Cambodia received the prize -- for which 549 applicants from 79 countries competed -- at a ceremony Friday, May 28, in London. 

The award will permit IDE Cambodia to extend its Farm Business Advisors (FBA) program -- initially funded with a $200,000 grant from Development Marketplace -- by recruiting and training an additional 36 advisors, generating approximately US $1.9 million in new income to impact 20,000 people in over 4,000 rural households around Cambodia. This represents an increase in income by upwards of 27 percent.


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