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The wisdom in African crowds

Aly-Khan Satchu's picture

"Erica Hagen in her piece in Development Outreach talks of the map Kibera effort being a ' first step toward local ownership and creation of shared information.' And in that comment I feel she has hit the nail on the head.'

As an investor, you throw in the previously quite entrenched Africa perception gap and you have a very interesting situation. I would describe the situation as a potential laboratory for innovation. An incredibly youthful skew to the population (60% of Kenyans are under the age of 24) surely is also an accelerator. And hence my desire and interest of late to get on the ground, pound the pavement and see if this has actually been a catalyst for innovation.

Can Russia Build A Silicon Valley?

Vivek Wadhwa's picture

A few months ago, I wrote about why I believed that Russia’s planned “science city” was destined for failure, in my BusinessWeek column. I predicted that it would follow the path of the hundreds of cluster development projects before it. Political leaders would hold press conferences to claim credit for advancing science and technology; management consultants would earn hefty fees; real-estate barons would reap fortunes; and as always happens, taxpayers would be left holding the bag. You don’t read about the failures of tech clusters all over the world, in countries like Japan, Egypt, Malaysia, and in many regions of the United States. That’s because they die slow, silent deaths. And that is the way nearly all government-sponsored innovation efforts go.

Given my scathing criticism, I had expected the Russian Federation to declare me persona non grata. Instead, I got an urgent call from Ellis Rubinstein, president of the New York Academy of Sciences.  He said that the Honorable Ilya Ponomarev, head of the high-tech subcommittee of the Russian State Duma (Russia’s parliament) had asked the academy to prepare a detailed report on this subject. And they wanted my input. Ellis also asked whether I would accompany his team to Russia to discuss the issue.  I wasn’t sure if this was an elaborate scheme to have me locked up in a Russian gulag, but I hold Ellis in such high regard that I agreed.

Innovation Happens When Traditional Markets Fail

Aleem Walji's picture

Conversations after "Innovations in Development" PanelInnovations in development happen where traditional markets fail.  The open discussion that followed the presentation I made on Monday to nearly 100 colleagues inside and outside the World Bank Group spurred the first of what I hope are many conversations on the role the World Bank Group and

Innovation in Africa

Rachel Payne's picture

"BRAC is built upon a foundation of innovation that is driven by an integrated approach to development and broad participation of its members... the BRAC model of innovation for the social good should be considered a new industry standard."

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.

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