Yesterday morning the White House hosted an open forum on innovation in global development. The discussion panel included Raj Shah (Administrator of USAID), Gayle Smith (Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director of the National Security Council), and Tom Kalil (Deputy Director for Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy & Senior Advisor for Science, Technology, and Innovation, National Economic Council). Questions were taken from the public via Twitter with the hashtag #WHChat and through Facebook.
FHI 360 submitted four questions through Twitter, and three of them were answered by the panel (though we were not directly mentioned):
In which areas of development is innovation most urgently needed?
The panel answered that innovation is urgently need in all sectors, but stressed food security, global health, and climate change as key focus areas.
How can we best involve youth in the innovation conversation?
The panel answered that it is important to engage college students in the US through university partnerships. They discussed USAID’s University Engagement program specifically, and talked about harnessing the power of the Internet to engage students in the developing world.
How can development partners support home-grown innovation in developing countries?
Similar to the above question, the panel talked about supporting students in developing countries and giving them platforms to voice their opinions. They also said that giving direct support to innovative projects and building networks of partnerships were important to foster home-grown innovation.
For more information about the White House’s innovation initiatives, check out their fact sheet, “Harnessing Innovation for Global Development.”