2020 will go down in history as a year of global health, economic and social crises occurring against the backdrop of increasingly catastrophic climate events. It is a year that defines disruption. However, as we jump into 2021, I’m taking a cue from last season’s development optimists to look for how to convert crisis into opportunity. This year, I will explore with my guests how they see us leveraging disruption for good in a post-COVID world.
More From the Blog
A full version of this post originally appeared on the blog Stanford Social Innovation Review. This excerpt has been reprinted with permission.
The explosive growth of the impact investing market has attracted more and more mission-driven nonprofits in recent years, but many of them are jumping in without first assessing if the undertaking is the right fit for their mission, culture or stakeholders. While some nonprofits are achieving their impact goals while making financial returns, many others have wasted years of staff time or thousands of dollars on expensive consultants with little to show for it.
The development community is in love with the idea of innovation as a way to accelerate positive change. But are innovation and disruption always positive? What are the unintended consequences from our drive to innovate?
An Interview with
Josh Woodard, Regional ICT and Digital Finance Advisor, Asia Pacific, FHI 360
Digital technology offers promising ways to solve some of the world’s development challenges. At FHI 360, we are applying new and existing technologies to build resilience among the communities where we work.
What is technology for resilience?
Let’s look at what we mean by resilience. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) defines it as “ the ability of people, households, communities, countries and systems to mitigate, adapt to and recover from shocks and stresses in a manner that reduces chronic vulnerability and facilitates inclusive growth.”
Recently, we’ve been using The Rockefeller Foundation’s definition: “Resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities and systems to survive, adapt and grow in the face of stress and shocks, and even transform when conditions require it.”
Are our growth-based models of modernization at odds with sustainable development? Does addressing environmental concerns need to take a back seat to economic growth in order to alleviate poverty? And is it reasonable to expect people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from to care about the environment?
In this episode, I sit down with Heather Tallis, Global Managing Director and Lead Scientist for Strategy Innovation for the Nature Conservancy, who dispels the myths and assumptions around the interplay of conservation and safeguarding the environment with meeting human needs and raising living standards. Marshaling the evidence, Heather makes the case that there doesn’t have to be a tradeoff between economic growth and poverty alleviation and conservation and that development goals and environmental goals can go hand in hand.
Do we set unrealistic expectations within the development community for what can be achieved in the time and with the resources available? What are the benefits and consequences of setting ambitious goals?
This year, A Deeper Look is exploring the theme of the darker side of development, the paradoxes or unintended consequences that surround international development efforts.
In this episode, I speak with Raj Kumar, founding President and Editor-in-Chief of Devex, the media platform for global development. We explore how good intentions can lead to negative consequences in development, the ways that development is shifting away from a top-down approach and how concepts drawn from commercial development, such as customer satisfaction and creative destruction, relate to human development.
There is something about the promise of a new year – the idea that the new year can bring change for the better. Many of us working in global development choose this work because we believe we can make a positive difference in the world.
For 2019, we have decided to take a deeper look at issues that global development actors often shy away from discussing – the paradoxes and unintended consequences of global development. We’re calling this year’s theme the “darker side” of development, but my hope is that this season will shed light on issues we need to be thinking about as a development community, so that we can make our work more relevant and effective.
Since the term “impact investing” took hold more than a decade ago, we’ve known that making investments that create positive social or environmental impact and generate a financial return would require engagement from both the social and private sectors. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that the extent of the work of international nonprofits in impact investing was revealed, when members of the International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) Impact Investing Network released their inaugural piece of thought leadership: Amplifyii:The INGO Value Proposition for Impact Investing. That report, featured in the NextBillion post Philanthropy is Changing Fast: 12 Lessons from Three Reports, was the first real landscape report charting the work of INGOs in impact investing. Two years later, the network came back together to release the next chapter of the story of INGOs in impact investing: Amplifyii: The Next Mile of Impact Investing for INGOs.