October 17, 2014
Sonal Shah, founding Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, will be the featured speaker during DAI Innovation Week October 27–31.
Shah, who headed development initiatives at Goldman Sachs and Google, served as Deputy Assistant to President Obama from April 2009 to August 2011. She is Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University. Shah will address DAI staff on October 28 at the company headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland.
Innovation Week is part of a yearlong celebration of original thinking and implementation throughout DAI, which currently is managing approximately 150 projects in 85 countries. “Our goal is to harvest and scale ideas that can have a significant development impact,” said James Boomgard, DAI’s CEO and President. For the Innovation Challenge, DAI’s project staff submitted 92 innovations to share throughout the company. Examples include Sharia-compliant loans that cater to female farming entrepreneurs in Afghanistan; an online system to manage grants in real time, as demonstrated on a project to support staple food markets in East Africa; and “artivism,” a combination of art and activism designed to engage marginalized young people in the politics of post-transition Tunisia.
Innovation Week will also feature the five projects that made it to the final round:
Pacific Islands Coastal Community Adaptation Project, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project that created open source, community-level planning maps used by vulnerable islands to prepare for severe weather.
The finalists will present to a panel of judges, including: Dave Ferguson, Director, Center for Development Innovation, US Global Development Lab, USAID; Jean Gilson, DAI Senior Vice President for Strategy, Marketing, and IT; Caesar Layton, Founder, Cultivate Ventures; Dale Pfeifer—CEO, GoodWorld; and Arif Zulfiqar, former Director of the World Bank Global Partnerships & Trust Fund Operations, and former Chair of the grants committee for the $500+million Japan Social Development Fund. The winner will be announced October 29.