That's Harvard Professor Lant Pritchett in the Atlantic describing the process it takes to get new game-changing ideas adopted by the mainstream. In this case, he's talking about the adoption of a global guest-worker program that would increase the labor supply in rich countries by three percent by handing out temporary visas to workers from poor countries.
A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune of attending a conference on prediction markets hosted by Inkling, a prediction market platform provider. The first presentation of the day actually had little to do with prediction markets, but still had everything to do with tapping into the wisdom of the crowds. (Or, better yet, the wisdom *in* the crowds.)
The answer is a "carrotmob".
Imagine going around to the shopkeepers in your neighbourhood and asking them what percentage of their sales they would be willing to invest in improving their energy efficiency. Identify the highest bidder and, using social media, you mobilise the local community to "mob" their shop on a mutually agreed date. Document everything on YouTube and get others to repeat the experiment around the world.
And now for a more positive example of Dev 2.0 in action. Giulio Quaggiotto pointed me to a very cool use of technology in the service of private sector development - weather insurance via SMS. According to Eric Seuret of 3S Mobile, SMS technology has sufficiently brought down the cost of providing insurance for farmers in Kenya against droughts to make it a viable business model. (Apologies for the cheesy intro music - you can safely skip over the first 20 seconds.)
In her book Dead Aid, aid critic Dambisa Moyo proclaims that the 2000s were the era of glamor aid. (Think Bono and Bob Geldof.) So what will the 2010s be? I think we already have an idea.
Are social networking sites changing the governance of sustainable development? A recent report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development tries to provide the answer to what is clearly an emerging field of research. (Hat tip: Rachel Kyte)
The boundaries between traditional publishing and blogs/wikis is breaking down further and further. Exhibit A is the recently published book Creative Capitalism, which was built around a blog of the same name with many top-notch contributors. Now a research fellow at the Center for Global Development is doing something similar for a book on microfinance.
The Armenians have gotten creative. It's no secret that many post-communist countries suffer from high rates of tax evasion. How can a government promote tax compliance without being too heavy-handed with small businesses? The answer: print lottery numbers for a state-sponsored lottery on the back of store receipts. That way consumers demand receipts and merchants are obliged to print them (conveniently leaving a paper trail for the tax office).