Odd bedfellows: good for development

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Some time ago I blogged about different connotations of the phrase "development 2.0."

A recent report by the US Chamber of Commerce, Development 2.0: Changing the Way Globalization Works adds yet another dimension to the debate (fellow PSD blogger Michael Jarvis contributed one chapter to the publication). The report focuses on the role of multinationals in emerging markets and argues that "development 2.0 is about blended value - finding ways to promote both social and economic development." Hybridization, partnerships and crossover planning are the strategies to be adopted in this emerging paradigm. The recently launched "e-co Hub" NGO Connect Africa seems like a good example of this approach at work.

Earlier this year, a Brooking Institution report on Global Development 2.0 also touched on the disruptive role of partnernships among what, until recently, were odd beddfellows:

The cozy, all-of-a-kind club of rich country officials who for decades dominated the development agenda has given way to a profusion of mega-philanthropists, "celanthropists," and super-charged advocacy networks vying to solve the world’s toughest problems.

Open innovation (the subject of a recent OECD report), it seems to me, is the common thread that connects those who think that "development 2.0" is primarily about new partnerships with those who focus on the impact of new technologies. At the heart of the new paradigm lies the acknowledgement that, when it comes to complex development issues, the best knowledge might ultimately reside outside of an organisation's walls and that, indeed, the "walls" are better replaced by porous buoundaries open to outside innovation. Partnerships and web 2.0 are tools that facilitate the breaking down of silos.

Too long has the development sector been plagued by the "not invented here" syndrome. Odd bedfellows and web 2.0-enabled business models: the winners in the Development 2.0 world?

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