12 challenges in development cooperation

There are 12 different fields of innovation within international development for which we formulated 12 trigger questions.

The Spindle calls for ideas to improve international development. We understand this is quite a large shout: the topic of sustainable and inclusive development is a broad one. Moreover, challenges range from societal, political levels to individual projects. So where do you start?

Let us look at this question from two different angles. Firstly, from the innovative point of view. We are looking for new solutions in which we distinguish three basic levels of innovation: incremental or core innovation (improving your current processes or products), substantial innovation (creating new products, processes, policies and networks) and radical innovation (developing new business models).

Secondly, we look from the content point-of-view: where do we need innovation? After some research we decided to focus on four themes in which we think innovation is needed the most: Inclusiveness (Leave No One Behind), Civic Power, Making Data Count and New Ways of Working Together. In a little frame:

Now we have 12 different ‘fields’ in which we can aim for new solutions! 12 different fields of innovation for which we formulated 12 trigger questions. Are you ready?

Leave No One Behind: Poor people are excluded from development and are often invisible for decision makers and managers of developmental projects and programmes.

  1. How can we include the extreme poor in fair value chains?
  2. How can we support the excluded in improving their lack of self-esteem?
  3. How can we include the opinions of the (usually) excluded in our research?

Civic Power: Worldwide the space for civic action is shrinking. This endangers the role of civil society organizations globally.

4. How can we empower citizens to fight for fair tax systems?
5. How can we use media in the digital age to fight for the rights of the oppressed?
6. How can we safeguard the identities of activists in our campaigns in such a digital age?

Making Data Count: The role and power of data is changing globally. For international development, the possibilities of data are huge, but also place great demands on organisations.

  1. How can we change the way in which we save and store transactions between donors and beneficiaries?
    8. How can we operationalize regional data in a way that it can be used globally?
    9. How can your organisation make use of IATI data of other organizations?

New Ways of Working Together: There is room for improvement in the way that NGOs cooperate.

  1. How do we combine capacities within NGOs with private partners, to gain impact?
    11. How can we find new ways of acquiring funds?
    12. How do we include local knowledge into development programmes developed by Northern organisations?

As you have noticed already, these are just tips of many icebergs. These are questions to trigger you. Join The Spindle Summer Labs to come closer to solutions for these trigger questions, or to use design thinking to develop your own idea! Send in your idea on how to improve international development, design it during The Spindle Summer Labs with peers and experts – and win The Spindle Award for Best Idea at the Partos Innovation Festival + €5000 seed money!

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