Worldwide—Center for Development Innovation Professional Management Services

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2014-2018

Region: Worldwide

Country: Worldwide


The U.S. Global Development Lab’s Center for Development Innovation (CDI) is driving long-term, sustained investment in innovations that have the potential to end extreme poverty.

Building on the early evidence that science, technology, innovation, and partnerships can deliver and accelerate outcomes and enhance development impact, CDI brings together some of the most cutting-edge programming at USAID. These programs include Grand Challenges for Development, Development Innovation Ventures, the Higher Education Solutions Network, LAUNCH, the Center for Transition to Scale, prize programs, and others.

DAI’s support to CDI is helping USAID and its partners to place smarter bets in sourcing potential development breakthroughs, giving innovative approaches the best chance to succeed wherever they emerge.

Sample Activities

  • Source technologies and innovations that could rapidly scale impact on key development problems.
  • Facilitate rapid prototyping for promising new programs and ideas.
  • Enable ideation-to-product development by engaging nontraditional actors such as students, social enterprises, business incubators, and accelerators.
  • Attract serious, long-term funding partners to help proliferate new development models and take innovations to scale.
  • Develop monitoring and evaluation frameworks that capture the value of innovation programming and help refine models for greater impact.
  • Promote CDI thought leadership and among global communities of solvers and partners to help attract ideas and resources for tackling entrenched development challenges.
  • Provide advice and tools to USAID missions to launch innovation programming and implement innovations from the Agency’s growing portfolio.
  • Facilitate financing solutions that blend public and private capital and provide flexible structures to underwrite growth.
  • Mobilize and connect academic communities around the world through channels such as the Higher Education Solutions Network.

This project builds on DAI’s support to the USAID Grand Challenges for Development program (2011–2014), which attracted more than 4,000 applications from more than 100 countries and made 185 awards. Over 30 percent of Grand Challenges for Development awardees are located in developing countries. These innovators are now applying or deepening their work in areas such as improving health care for mothers and their newborns, creating energy for agriculture, increasing literacy, securing water for food, and improving governance by making all voices count.



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Over the past twenty years, violent conflicts in various areas of the Somalia Peninsula have hindered lasting economic growth and stability in the entire region, with more than 70 percent of the population living below the poverty line today. Despite these difficult conditions, the Somali private sector has shown remarkable resiliency, with a variety of small businesses managing to prosper and create an environment for potential investment.

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