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Innovations for Development: 2013 Wish List

Maya Brahmam's picture

A recent Poverty Matters blog post in the Guardian noted that mobile technologies and social media are creating cheap ways for citizens to interact with their governments and that development projects are trying to tap into these technologies. It gave a plug to the Bank’s new Open Finances mobile app that lets users find and monitor bank-funded projects near where they live, using mapping and GPS technology.

With the advent of the New Year and given the on-going work in the Bank on the open agenda, here are three things we may accomplish in 2013:

Tap into Big Data – if successful, we hope this would allow us to:

- Measure poverty in “real time” using alternative techniques made possible by the widespread availability of high-frequency data.

- Create a “prediction model” to determine whether funds are likely to be used for the purposes intended – thus helping make better decisions BEFORE the money leaves the Bank.

- Develop and apply advanced computing solutions to address major humanitarian challenges (like natural disasters). See related blog post by Patrick Meier.

Create Vibrant Citizen Feedback Loops - we know citizen feedback empowers, and new technologies allow us to do this cheaply, and wouldn’t it be great if they could:

- Reinforce social infrastructure and social cohesion, which makes it more likely that  we’ll survive a catastrophe, as pointed out recently on NPR, or in fragile situations, as mentioned in a new study by the Bank, Societal Dynamics and Fragility.

Share Knowledge More Effectively – At the 2012 Annual Meetings, Dr. Kim said that he wants the World Bank to become a solutions Bank. This  would mean that we would need to:

- Communicate knowledge in a way that is practical, that inspires, and that helps our members build shared prosperity.

- Identify great ideas that are scalable and accelerate the spread of solutions to end poverty.

Image courtesy of Simon Howden /

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Submitted by Aleem M Walji on
All good suggestions Maya. Many are in the pipeline and we're working to make them a reality. Hope you can help us.

Thanks Maya. Plenty to do this year as you say. Baby steps on the big data front here - May all your wishes come true :-)

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