DIV takes strategic risks with a tiered, evidence-driven model:
In addition to tiered funding, DIV provides separate evidence grants (up to $1,500,000) to support research and evaluations that generate rigorous evidence of an innovation’s impact per dollar and potential for expansion. Evidence grants support impact evaluations (including randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental methods), as well as other methods of assessing impact.
Open innovation means that game-changing ideas come from anyone, anywhere, and at any time. DIV is open year-round and reviews applications on a rolling basis. We fund innovations in any sector and any country where USAID operates.
Launched in 2010, DIV was co-founded by Michael Kremer (a Harvard development economics professor) and Maura O'Neill (USAID's former Chief Innovation Officer). Leveraging their expertise in development economics, venture capital, and innovation, they combined evidence and innovation into a new approach to testing and scaling evidence-based development solutions for the world.
We emphasize evidence-driven development
DIV values rigorous testing methods (such as impact evaluations or robust market tests) to measure the impact of our innovations. Evidence of clear, measurable outcomes demonstrates what is working and what is not.
We support cost-effective solutions
DIV looks for innovations that deliver maximum impact per dollar. For us, an innovation's competitive landscape encompasses any alternative targeting the same development outcomes, not simply other types of the same product or service.
We scale proven solutions to impact millions
To achieve the most impact, the best innovations scale up through the public sector, private sector, or a hybrid path. For scale through the public sector, organizations partner with host-country governments, multilateral donors, or other public sector players. For scale through the private sector, organizations achieve commercial viability themselves or partner with other businesses to scale their reach.
We provide flexible funding
DIV funding enables grantees to adapt and grow under changing circumstances, with a focus on outcomes rather than strict deliverables or project plans. We structure our grant agreements with milestones negotiated with grantees.
We take the “lean start-up” approach
Since 2010, DIV has committed to a “start-up” style of iteration and improvement. DIV provides the flexibility to test and adapt as our innovators learn and grow.
We bridge the innovation funding gap
Many social entrepreneurs with promising innovations lack access to early financing. DIV provides early seed funding to these higher-risk solutions, in order to demonstrate their impact and viability so others will further invest and scale these solutions with immense potential.