World Bank President Robert Zoellick gave a speech yesterday on new approaches to development research that has set off a lot of chatter in the development blogosphere. Dani Rodrik is mostly supportive, while Bill Easterly is a little less impressed. Given the touchiness of setting the research agenda (economists' jobs are at stake here!), it might be easy to overlook this snippet, where Zoellick comes out in strong support of Development 2.0:
We are working to make data analysis and modeling tools more user-friendly, so that researchers, civil society, and local communities can come up with their own findings – and double-check ours.
Imagine this: A health care worker or parent in a village, with a laptop or mobile device, can access development knowledge in real time through geo coding and geo mapping. She can see which schools have feeding programs and which go without, and what is happening to local health. She can access 20 years of data on infant mortality for her country and its neighbors. She can dig deeply and compare her village with others. She can upload her own data, throw light on the likely effect of new interventions, and mobilize the community to demand better or more targeted health programs.
Has Zoellick been reading Giulio's posts (e.g. here)? It seems hard to avoid that conclusion...