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?
Preparing the future workforce requires transformations in what we know, how we learn and how we workWritten by
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.
What drives innovation, beyond the good idea that begins it? What are the obstacles keeping nonprofits from moving from experimentation to application of scalable ideas? What lessons can we learn from Silicon Valley? And how might artificial intelligence affect our strategies for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
How do we measure nonprofit organizational effectiveness?
I was delighted to have a conversation with Jeri Eckhart Queenan, Partner & Global Development Practice Head at the Bridgespan Group, about the challenges in financing development. This was a great opportunity to discuss emerging trends in how organizations manage their programs in order to deliver the most effective results while maximizing value for their stakeholders, especially the beneficiaries of their work.
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.”