Economic Development

  • Positive youth development as a pathway to economic empowerment

    The global economic landscape, along with the nature of work, is rapidly changing. More and more people are working outside of a typical office environment and in the gig economy. This is creating new economic opportunities — and challenges. The abilities and aspirations of young people, who now number almost two billion, are often unrealized, especially in the developing world. What is the best way to secure their futures?

    We believe that positive youth development interventions can support and empower youth to be more engaged, healthy and productive members of their communities. Meeting young people where they are — whether in person or online — is necessary to build the critical skills and competencies to meet the demands of a growing and evolving economy. Our research shows that positive youth development interventions can facilitate resilience and, when combined with labor market analysis, prepare young people for future employment.

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  • Partnering with a new generation of innovators for social good

    We know we have to do things differently to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We need new ways of seeing old problems, new skills and methods to direct the technological whirlwind disrupting societies and new ways to muster political will to make hard decisions that challenge old orthodoxies.

    There is a paradox here: At a time when innovation is creating destabilizing change, the key to future stability lies in our ability to effectively harness innovation. But what does that look like?

    Most innovations are spread through traditional commercial channels where one company either develops or purchases the intellectual property or product of another. Commercializing and scaling new products, particularly in the tech sector, has been the driving force in 21st century economic growth. It has improved living standards in many parts of the world, but simultaneously produced growing — and potentially destabilizing — inequality.

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  • Preparing the future workforce requires transformations in what we know, how we learn and how we work

    Artificial intelligence, smart systems, decentralized manufacturing and other technologies are driving major uncertainties around the future of work. Experts from MIT and the World Economic Forum suggest that we are in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution, characterized by new technologies that will affect all industries. As the very nature of work changes rapidly, old jobs are disappearing and new jobs are emerging in every sector of the economy. This has produced a major shift in the demand for skills that is happening worldwide, and we can expect further shifts going forward.

    Reducing the lag time between the development of new jobs and the preparation of the workforce to meet new skills needs is a core concern for workers, new graduates, employers and governments. And while the pace of transformation in jobs and skills differ by country and region, evolution along the technological spectrum is taking place everywhere.

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  • Four major famines have taken place so far in 2017, which has renewed attention on the urgent need to address food security globally. However, food security involves much more than responding to famines, and it is closely linked to factors such as governance, which plays a significant role in fragile states and developing countries. FHI 360 held a Facebook Live discussion on how integrating governance, agriculture and food security can benefit food security programs. The conversation was moderated by Gregory Adams, Director of the Locus Coalition at FHI 360, with FHI 360 experts Joseph Sany, Technical Advisor, Peacebuilding and Conflict Mitigation, and Annette Brown, Director, Research and Evaluation Strategic Initiative.

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  • Digital technologies enhance the resilience of individuals and communities

    We live in an increasingly volatile and uncertain world. The risks to much of the world’s population that stem from climatic, political and economic fluctuations have played out again and again in recent years. While emergency response and humanitarian aid still have an important role to play, the development community is increasingly interested in how to build the resilience of individuals, communities and systems not only to survive these shocks and stresses, but also to adapt to them and better prepare for future occurrences.

    There is no single solution for building resilience, as it is highly dependent on the population in question, the risks they face, local infrastructure and resources, and a number of other factors. However, one tool that has the potential to facilitate increased resilience across a range of contexts is digital technology.

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  • A call for new thinking in the new systems age

    Paul BundickAs human development practitioners, we have been talking a lot recently about how a changing world is demanding new approaches to development in the way we finance, implement our projects and measure the results of our work. But what has been missing is a discussion about how to change the way we think about the world and mental models we use as we try to make our world a better place. While we all agree that the world has changed, our mental models lag behind, and we desperately need a mental model upgrade.

    Otto Scharmer, an economist, organization theorist and keynote speaker at the upcoming Challenge Conference in Washington, DC, wrote in Leading from the Emerging Future, “The success of our actions as change-makers does not depend on what we do or how we do it, but on the inner place from which we operate.” In other words, our awareness provides the underlying ground out of which our thinking and doing emerge.

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