Over the next 30 years, the global community has an extraordinary opportunity to eradicate extreme poverty. That will not be easy, given a global context where two billion more people will be added to today’s 7.3 billion; 90% of humanity will live in low- and middle-income countries; and crucial new disruptive influences and demands on natural resources and human capital will need to be confronted.
Our world has already been dramatically transformed by the life-saving and life-improving innovations of entrepreneurs from many years ago, who saw where inadequate practices were slowing progress, and who took action to create more effective approaches. With the progress in addressing many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) still lagging far behind our aspirations, finding and supporting innovative solutions in a more efficient manner has become a priority for the international development community in order to enable billions of people to overcome poverty.
Governments, the private sector, civil society, academia, development institutions and donors need to work together more than ever before – crossing traditional boundaries – to discover, fund, and scale new solutions and tap the energy of innovation needed to reduce poverty at scale. Action now can hasten the day when the SDGs are met and billions of people embrace each new day with opportunities not previously thought possible.
Through the International Development Alliance (IDIA), R4D is providing strategic support to global development funders to build understanding of the role of innovation within international development. Established in 2015, the Alliance brings together world-leading bilateral and multilateral agencies, innovation platforms and private foundations with a shared mission to promote and advance innovation as a means to help achieve sustainable development.
IDIA’s activities are structured around three pillars: Influencing, Collaborating and Enabling:
During its first three years, 2015-2018, IDIA members collaborated on a number of key initiatives, helping to define a common language and vision around innovation in development, and creating practical tools and resources for development practitioners. Some highlights include:
- Publishing several knowledge products including papers on good practice in scaling innovation, measuring the impact of innovation, and a tool for bridging gender equality and innovation.
- Creating an Innovation Ecosystem framework to assist development practitioners in understanding, and working to strengthen, the complexity of different actors, relationships and resources that play a role in taking a great idea to scale; and
- Delivering a pioneering training course on Managing Innovation for Impact, building capacity amongst organizations and individuals to become catalysts for scaling innovation within their local and global ecosystems.
For 2019-2020, IDIA members will be focusing on the theme of ‘collaboration for scale’. Planned activities include developing a pipeline of promising innovations and facilitating them through the scaling pathway. Multiple working groups will look to surface and support innovations with a particular emphasis on those which address gender equality and those which leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate development impact.
Read more on the International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA) website.