What we’re listening to: USAID’s first podcast on hacking international development through CLA (Collaborating, Learning & Adapting)

Listening, prototyping, testing, learning and iterating.  The cycle is fundamentally reshaping how we do

SxD participants rethink how the accelerator is designed
SxD participants rethink how the accelerator is designed

Not everyone uses words like “prototyping”, “lean startup”, or “human-centered design”, however.  Similar ideas crop up in adaptive management frameworks across sectors.  USAID defines adaptive management as “intentionally and systematically using relevant knowledge to inform decision-making and ultimately take action. Within the development context, that action could be adjusting interventions or whole strategies, experimenting with new ways of working, scrapping programming that simply isn’t working, or scaling approaches that have demonstrated value.”

In their first podcast, the USAID Learning Lab team explores the implementation of USAID’s Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) Framework to see what the impact has been and how these concepts are changing development.




Where Social Business and Community Health Programs Intersect

The success of community health programs, particularly those based on volunteers, are often threatened by high rates of volunteer drop out and inconsistent performance. For organizations like CARE, who champion dignified work and raise-awareness around unpaid work being a barrier to women’s empowerment, asking some of the poorest communities to simply volunteer their time is difficult to do.

Financial incentives have been found to be one of the most important factors associated with improving retention and performance in urban slums, but lack of financial rewards remains a substantial challenge to implementation and success of community health worker (CHW) programs. Social enterprise is one method many in the development community are now looking at to solve this lack of financial motivation.

Watch this video from CARE UK CEO Laurie Lee’s visit to the CARE social enterprise Live Well in Zambia; read more of his story and learn how Live Well is empowering community health workers (CHWs) through entrepreneurship.





Meet our Partners: Erin Mazursky of Rhize

We’re partnering with Rhize for our elective lab on movement building. Rhize coaches movements, trains organizations and connects everone to a global ecosystem of movement support. There are proven strategies and approaches for nonviolent civil resistance that fall under three core principles: (1) a strategic movement-building lens that allows leaders to think beyond any one victory, (2) an ethic of community-building and (3) an ability to effectively and strategically activate constituents using both grassroots and digital platforms. Yet impassioned activists rarely have access to these strategies, too often reinventing the wheel and repeating past mistakes. Rhize works with movements to build on their strengths and integrate these elements with the goal of creating sustained, strategic and impactful action that changes the status quo. Explore their website to learn more!

Learn more about Rhize by watching this short video from their Co-founder and President Erin Mazursky:

Dr. Hemant Shah Profiled as a Global Leader in Maternal and Newborn Health

Dr. Hemant Shah, a member of the Team Based Goals and Incentives Scale X Design Accelerator team, was recently profiled as a global leader in maternal and newborn health on the Maternal Health Task Force blog. He has extensive experience with reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health in the Bihar state in India. He has served as a maternal health expert in the Integrated Family Health Initiative project and has successfully led quality improvement activities in health facilities in Bihar state.

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Shah is providing technical support to the government of Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, affected with high maternal and infant mortality rates. Despite the difficult challenges within the context of the Bihar state, Dr. Shah and team are focused on three categories: improving quality of care in the facilities; building the capacity of frontline workers to improve services at community level; and working on health system issues like supply chain management, human resources, and more.

Dr. Shah can attribute his success to several factors. First, his technical knowledge but also being able to bring stakeholders together and taking responsibility for failure instead of blaming team members. When a leader himself or herself takes responsibility it builds the confidence of the team that their leader is also ready to try his or her best.

Thanks to Dr. Shah and team for not only the knowledge and skills improvement they have achieved, but also for inspiring behavior and cultural change.

“From the SDG point of view, one of the qualities required in a leader is perseverance, because achieving the goals is not going to happen in the next one or two years. If you consistently pursue the things with your all, honest efforts, sooner or later, you will get the results.” -Dr. Hemant Shah


What We’re Reading: How to Develop a Human-Centered Design Mindset

It’s official, human-centered design is a hot topic in the development space! There seem to be more people writing about it than are actually doing it, though.

Check out the latest article from Devex on “How to develop a human-centered design mindset” 

Jocelyn Wyatt, Executive Director of Ideo, sat down with Devex to discuss the most common shoulder shrug reaction that we hear in response human-centered design: “Well, that’s just good development.”

True! It’s not necessarily new, but it’s definitely not universally applied.   Check out Jocelyn’s reflections here:



What We’re Reading: Getting to Scale: How to Bring Development Solutions to Millions of Poor People

At 356 pages of fairly dense writing, you’d hardly call it a page turner. But if you’re a global development practitioner, you might have hard time putting it down.

Getting to Scale: How to Bring Development Solutions to Millions of Poor People looks at the hard truths of how few development solutions go to scale and provides the most in-depth analysis and evidence on the topic that we’ve seen so far. Read, enjoy and share your thoughts on scale with us!

Getting to Scale: How Bring Development Solutions to Millions of Poor People. By Laurence Chandy (Editor), Akio Hosono (Editor), Homi Kharas (Editor), Johannes Linn (Editor)