Technology & Innovation
day one project

Scaling impactful innovations for global development

11.09.23 | 5 min read

Despite the world’s progress in combating extreme poverty, 84% of the global population live on less than $30 per day, which is the approximate average poverty line in OECD countries. Further, the impending climate disaster disproportionately affects impoverished communities, limited access to quality healthcare and nutrition leads to lower life expectancy, and inadequate education constrains upward mobility. 

Recent legislation is focused on scaling up evidence-based solutions (i.e. FIGDA: Fostering Innovation in Global Development Act), and a community of practice is growing around evidence based development and paying for outcomes. It’s time to capitalize on this unique policy window to create impact for those in need and drive change.

We are looking for your big ideas regarding U.S. development practices and programs, whether they come from years of research and experience in the international development field or whether you believe your own expertise in another sector may yield innovations applicable to international development.  

We’re seeking ideas for innovations, and want to help you turn these ideas into actionable policies and programs that U.S. government development practitioners can easily take up and implement. Our team will equip you with tools, skills, background knowledge, and scaffolding to convert your technical expertise into a well-crafted, action-oriented policy or program recommendation. We will then help you to convey your idea directly to the development policy leaders who matter –  in the White House, Congress, USAID, and across other relevant federal agencies.  

Remember: Innovation comes in many forms. Perhaps you know of an existing project that is working in one country or socio-economic/geographic context and want to develop the project in a new context in order to bring it to scale. Perhaps you know of new techniques, technologies, or stakeholders who want to apply successes in other fields to international development problems. Perhaps you want to combine new and old approaches, or a set of technologies, for maximum impact.  

The U.S. government’s development community has always relied on the ingenuity of outside technologists, innovators, researchers and doers. This ideas challenge aims to improve and advance the innovation pipeline within the U.S. government’s development agencies to generate more impactful outcomes, improving the lives of vulnerable populations worldwide. 

What We’re Looking For

FAS is crowdsourcing actionable ideas in order to equip development policymakers to build a streamlined global development R&D pipeline. The only criterion is that the new ideas must seek to improve the lives of communities or individuals in need in Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), as defined by the World Bank. Here are some examples to consider as you formulate your idea:

How it Works

  1. You submit an idea below that matches one or more of the relevant prompts (listed under “What We’re Looking For”). Submissions should be no more than 350 words and should include a clear plan of action, including recommendations for specific development actors in the U.S. government.
  1. A panel of senior development experts will select the most compelling submissions. Those with winning ideas will work with our team of experts in order to deliver them at a workshop in Fall 2024 and to communicate these ideas shortly after.

Ultimately, FAS and partners will synthesize recommendations with contributors and collaboratively provide inputs to the policy leaders working with and within the White House, Congress, and relevant federal agencies on ways to scale up market-shaping mechanisms. FAS plans to hold this submission process on a yearly basis; if your ideas are not selected this year, please keep in touch with us!