The annual ICT4D Conferences have proven to be an invaluable opportunity for NGOs, private sector organizations, universities, governmental agencies and foundations to share their experience in using ICT to increase the impact of development programs and to learn from each other. In 2016, 750 individuals from 76 countries and 320 private sector and public sector and civil society explored the ways to harness the full power of digital solutions to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Our thanks to Accenture, Catholic Relief Services, Esri, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, iMerit Technology Services, Inmarsat, IS Solutions, Making All Voices Count, Mercy Corps, Microsoft, NetHope, Oxfam, Pandexio, Qualcom Wireless Reach, RTI International, SimbaNet and World Vision for making that possible.
There is an increasing call by the global development community for Aid to be more agile, contextual and inclusive as we recognize how complex the environments are that we operate within. Movements like Doing Development Differently, Thinking and Working Politically, Feedback Labs, #adaptdev and others are trying to push donors and implementors to be more adaptive and problem-driven. These efforts have contributed to major donor reforms such as DFID's Smart Rules, the World Bank's Science of Delivery and USAID's upcoming revisions to its Operations Policy and Program Cycle, as well as larger investments in Adaptive Management. These efforts will create a large demand for services and tools that that allow for a more participatory and agile approach to development -- a demand that the ICT4D community can be well positioned to meet.
This session will present the larger landscape in development that is pushing for these systemic changes, and present a new initiative that USAID's Global Development Lab is launching to conceive, design, and test how real-time data systems can enable a more adaptive and participatory approach to development in complex settings. This initiative is not focused on adaptation or feedbacks for their own sake, but how decisions can be made in a more responsive, contextual and participatory fashion with access to relevant and usable data at the appropriate times. The initiative is also concerned with how to most appropriately integrate flow data to and from multiple agents and decision makers across the 'information supply chain' - including community members, frontline workers, mid-level managers, and government decision makers - to facilitate rapid operational assessments, adaptive and iterative learning through tight feedback loops throughout the implementation of program delivery, and M&E. The understanding of the power, agency and behavior of the various decision makers, as well as the governance applications that allow for more sustainable and adaptive programming models, will be integral to the success of this work for the ICT4D and broader development community.