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Innovating Impact

Essentially, innovation is finding a better way of doing things, a totally new method or a time-tested solution used in a new environment. We are committed to bringing the most effective ideas to bear to see greater development impact.
Innovation is a process. Closely monitoring our projects, we begin by identifying issues to be resolved or opportunities for doing things better and applying knowledge that can be applied and adapted to generate new ideas. These innovations are key elements in achieving development impact, and what seem like small adjustments add up to significant change.
 
However, the process does not end with identifying a solution. Our standards of project excellence—called AIMS—challenge us to identify and record where our projects are innovating so we can apply lessons learned across regions and technical areas.
 

Applying Technical Innovations
Using the latest research and development, we apply technical innovations to improve project effectiveness.

  • Geographic information systems (GIS): We are using GIS worldwide to share data, results, and high-level impact cross-regionally. Read about how the Peru Alternative Development Program is using GIS to improve the local coffee sector.   
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  • Building partnerships for sustainability: We partner with local private sector firms to ensure local buy-in and promote sustainability after our projects end. These partnerships apply not only to project design and function, but also in monitoring and evaluation. Through the Environmental and Labor Excellence for CAFTA-DR project, we are working with private companies to improve data collection, help companies improve their environmental performance, and create a lasting impact after the project closes. Read more about this partnership.

Knowledge Sharing
Our technical practices are charged with identifying and sharing our lessons learned in the field. Through practice networks and online toolkits and newsletters, we ensure staff worldwide have access to the latest project innovations and successes.

Taking the Next Step: Going Beyond Indicators
To improve our ability to monitor our projects’ progress and make improvements, our projects often develop and track outcome and impact indicators rather than only output indicators. For instance, in an education project, we will track an output indicator, such as the number of people trained. To take our analysis to the next level, we also track outcome and impact indicators, such as the number of people who use their training on a regular basis or have themselves become trainers. 

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