International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA)

Bringing together the world’s leading development agencies using innovation to bend the curve of the Sustainable Development Goals

Innovation is critical for delivering sustained, scalable solutions to the world’s complex problems, but more can be done to identify the most promising innovations and support them to achieve transformative impact at scale.

The Challenge

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.

The Opportunity

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.

Our Progress

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.



World Bank Group, U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), Australian Department of Foreign Aid and Trade (DFAT), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), UNICEF, Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, Global Innovation Fund, Grand Challenges Canada, SIDA, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Skoll Foundation



Global & Regional Initiatives

R4D is a globally recognized leader for designing initiatives that connect implementers, experts and funders across countries to build knowledge and get that knowledge into practice.