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Aid Effectiveness

Old School or New School, the Question is the Same: How can development institutions make measurement core to their business?

Nigel Twose's picture

Firms maximize their profits by developing strategy with targets, tracking progress, and using incentives to drive achievement. Without the natural feedback of the market, how can we use this approach to drive toward results for the poor? 

One of us works for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – an old school Bretton Woods institution with years of experience building systems to track results across countries. The other one of us works for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an entrepreneurial organization that is much newer on the block, without some of the systems that come with fifty years of development work but also without the preconceptions. We come to the table with a desire to learn from each other’s experience. We hope this first blog will pique input from colleagues around the world, similarly passionate about the power of data to improve our business.

Harnessing development’s information shadow

In a previous post, I introduced the concept of development’s information shadow (mediated from Tim O’Reilly), arguing that the development world will gradually produce an increasing amount of digital data with a relationship to real world objects (think, for example, of a digital map of safe drinking water sources in a given location).

Development 2.0: The skills gap

No summer lull for the Development 2.0 world, it would seem, judging from recent activity: from Richard Heeks’ paper on Development 2.0: Transformative ICT-Enabled Development Models and Impacts to a comprehensive checklist comparing “old school development” with Development 2.0 aid; from Idealware’s

Is the mainstream ready for output-based aid?

There is an ongoing conversation in the development community, certainly amongst donors, about the need to make sure that aid is well spent and reaches the people it is intended to help. Most recently the UK shared its vision for international development, highlighting Value for Money and the use of results-based approaches.

How do we get the crowd-sorcerers and the muggles to work together?

Ryan Hahn's picture

Humanitarian aid is not a standard topic for the PSD Blog, but I ran across a post recently on the disaster in Haiti that cuts across a lot of themes. Over at iRevolution, Patrick Philip Meier discusses the tension between those who helped crowdsource information related to the disaster -- what he calls the crowd-sorcerers -- and the formal humanitarian aid organizations -- playfully called "muggles".