Check out what news outlets and other sources are saying about DIV.
BrookingsFebruary 8, 2021
Brookings published a blog entitled The quiet revolution: What Congress should know about foreign assistance today, which mentions as DIV as an example of a program with an effective mechanism that promotes innovation by creating incentives for improved outcomes. DIV uses tiered funding to cast a wide net for promising ideas and then doubles down on those with the strongest results.
Center for Global DevelopmentDecember 2020
The Center for Global Development released an article entitled Establishing USAID as a Leader in Evidence-Based Foreign Aide, which discusses U.S. foreign assistance and makes recommendations for improvement. DIV is mentioned as a unit that identifies and tests new solutions to development problems and helps scale those with strong evidence of impact and cost-effectiveness.
DevExDecember 17, 2020
A DevEx article entitled Exclusive: France to launch development innovation fund chaired by Esther Duflo explains that in 2021, France will start a Fund for Innovation in Development to test and scale up solutions to poverty and inequality. The Fonds d’Innovation pour le Développement (FID) takes inspiration from DIV and will be an independent body hosted by the French Development Agency in Paris.
Results for America2013-2020
For the eighth year, DIV was mentioned under USAID on the Results for American 2020 Federal Standard of Excellence. The Federal Standard of Excellence describes the DIV model, DIV's funding stages, and DIV's successes over the past ten years. To see DIV included in past years, see the Index for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2020.
DevExOctober 23, 2020
DevEx's article Maximize results while managing the risks': Lessons from USAID's open innovation program reports on DIV's October 2020 event at SOCAP as DIV celebrates its tenth anniversary.
The Nobel PrizeDecember 2019
When DIV co-founder and Scientific Director Michael Kremer delivered his Nobel Prize Lecture on Experimentation, Innovation, and Economics in December 2019, he mentioned Development Innovation Ventures as an innovation and funding institution that seeks innovations from a variety of sources. His discussion of DIV begins around 23:55.
Foreign PolicyJune 24, 2013
“Of course, technology and innovation can play a huge role in improving the quality of life of poor people across the globe, but the surprising truth is that the right approach for harnessing that innovation hasn’t been incubated in freewheeling Palo Alto, but in the bowels of a supposedly hidebound government bureaucracy in Washington, D.C.”
Foreign Policy's article Can Silicon Valley Save the World? discusses the creation of DIV and its ambition to provide a model for serious public sector venture capital work that will create a piggybacking effect by attracting support from government donors and private company. It also provides information about CommCare, a start-up that received $1 million in funding from DIV with the intention of bringing modern medicine to rural India via mobile phone.
Pioneers PostSeptember 22, 2020
In Pioneers Post's article ‘Our biggest enemy is ourselves’ – innovation guru Ann Mei Chang tells impact funders to raise the bar on risk-taking, Ann Mei Chang mentions tiered funding as a key mechanism for transformation. She cited DIV as an example of tiered funding and the article discusses DIV innovator Zola Electric (formerly known as Off Grid Electric).
Government ExecutiveAugust 11, 2020
Government Executive's article Why Agencies Need to Spend a Little to Gain a Lot mentions DIV as an example of a successful model of tiered-evidence grants that test, validate, and scale effective policies and interventions at the federal level.
Slalom & the Partnership for Public ServiceNovember 2019
Slalom and the Partnership for Public Service's report entitled Risk and Reward: A Framework for Federal Innovation includes a profile of DIV as an innovative federal organization and initiative. The report profiled organizations that have the 10 critical characteristics identified as essential to creating innovative workplace cultures, and in some instances, are part of larger agency organizations that are dedicated to experimenting and embracing new ideas.
DevExNovember 1, 2019
In a DevEx question and answer session entitled Q&A: Questions for Nobel laureate Michael Kremer, DIV co-founder and scientific director Michael Kremer discusses DIV and the DIV method of providing tiered, evidence-based funding for proof of concept, testing for scale, and scaling.
The Center for Global DevelopmentNovember 1, 2019
A Center for Global Development article entitled What US Government Initiative Do All Three 2019 Economics Nobel Winners Like? (Hint: It’s at USAID.) discusses Michael Kremer's paper “The State of Economics, The State of the World.” The article particularly emphasizes Kremer's discussion of DIV, including how DIV works and what the impact of DIV innovations has been.
Stanford Social Innovation ReviewJune 25, 2019
An excerpt of the book The Business of Changing the World: How Billionaires, Tech Disrupters, and Social Entrepreneurs Are Transforming the Global Aid that was posted on the Stanford Social Innovation Review discusses DIV's funding of APOPO, an organization that trains African giant pouched rats to detect tuberculosis in laboratory samples. It also gives an overview of DIV funding and how it works.
April 3, 2014
Stanford's Social Innovation Review article The Lean Startup Goes to Washington discusses DIV and how it has allowed USAID to uncover problems and solutions from innovations across the world who are addressing issues such as improving access to clean water or reducing traffic fatalities in Africa. It also discusses how programs like DIV improve federal grantmaking by adopting the methodologies of risk mitigation and Lean Startup philosophy. These programs exemplify social innovation, as they use better information to determine which programs work, can scale and improve lives, and can better optimize taxpayer resources.
The Center for Strategic and International StudiesMarch 19, 2012
The Center for Strategic & International Studies article entitled Innovation and International Development: The Case of Development Innovation Ventures asks and answers three questions about what DIV is, why innovation in development is so important, and how the U.S. government incorporates innovation into mainstream development work.
DevExMarch 25, 2019
In a DevEx question and answer session entitled Q&A: USAID's chief innovation officer on whole-of-agency integration, USAID's chief innovation officer Alexis Bonnell discusses how the USAID has entered the implementation phase of its transformation. She also discusses innovation at the agency, its impact, and the lessons learned from that innovation as DIV and the Lab prepare to become part of the Development, Democracy, and Innovation Bureau, which will provide support and technical assistance to everyone in the agency looking to bring innovation to their work.
The New York Times September 11, 2018
The New York Time's Opinion page piece entitled Is Cash Better for Poor People Than Conventional Foreign Aid? discusses DIV as the part of USAID where a cash initiative takes root and that serves as a seedbed for new ideas and rigorous evaluations.
The Huffington Post December 6, 2017
The Huffington Post’s article entitled Move Over World Bank: Bilateral Institutions Lead Investment Beyond the Grid discusses how bilateral institutions are stepping up to provide beyond the grid support in the absence of multilateral development banks’ contributions. It includes DIV as an example of a program that is helping building an impressive pipeline of companies serving populations beyond the grid.
MIT D-Lab November 1, 2017
MIT D-Lab’s new resource "The Metrics Cafe: Who decides what impact data gets measured? A guide to bring funders and grantees to the table" spotlights DIV as an example of an à la carte model for the relationship between a grantee and a funder. This model has more back-and-forth conversation, as the funder surrenders some control and consistency and gets more nuance, while the grantee is offered more agency and guidance. The spotlight describes the relationship DIV has with its grantees and what DIV offers in terms of definitions, templates, support, and technical assistance.
The Center for Global DevelopmentSeptember 26, 2017
The Center for Global Development’s Note "Advancing the Evidence Agenda at USAID" reflects on discussions of reform and redesign of USAID, particularly the agency’s objectives of increased efficiency and effectiveness. It offers ideas for how Administrator Green and the agency can champion both new and ongoing efforts to generate and use more and better evidence in pursuit of increasingly effective and efficient aid programs.
Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) August 9, 2017
MFAN's blog “Redesign Reaction: Reinventing Our Institutions for the Future of Global Development” offers the perspective that the best use of aid is to catalyze better solutions to problems that lie at the root of global development and then to get out of the way. Aid should emphasize innovation to solve problems and then enable scale through the private sector and local governments. MFAN highlights USAID’s DIV as an example of aid that fills a more leveraged role and provides risk capital to seed new solutions.
The World Policy Institute July 11, 2017
The World Policy Institute's article Infection Control and Hygiene in the Face of Ebola discusses how several programs are making efforts to tackle the severe problems associated with sanitation, water, and hygiene. The article mentions how DIV, in partnership with the Gates Foundation, supports new technologies and innovations that are sustainable and can be scaled in developing countries.
In 2016, USAID’s article Waste to Watts: DIV announces first WASH for Life grant to Sanergy announced that DIV’s first WASH grant would go to Sanergy, a startup that builds sustainable sanitation in urban slums. Within the article, Former U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated them on having been selected. “DIV grants open up the space for great ideas that ultimately provide effective development solutions at a fraction of the cost.”
USAID’s Office of Economic Policy in the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment conducted a cost-benefit analysis of DIV investments in four off-grid solar energy companies. The analysis, entitled “Cost-Benefit Analysis of Off-Grid Solar Investments in East Africa,” found that DIV’s $8.4 million investment created an overall economic gain of $17 million in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's book entitled "The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation and Partnerships in the Future of USAID" includes DIV as an example of initiatives that have begun to expand USAID’s reach in seeking competitively selected scientific and technological solutions to address development challenges. They also recommend that USAID expand DIV by investing in expanding DIV’s staged funding model.
The Center for Global Development and J-PAL December 5, 2016
In 2006, the Center for Global Development released a working group report that described an evaluation gap and proposed an international effort to systematically build evidence on what works in development in order to improve the effectiveness of social programs. Ten years later, CGD and J-PAL hosted the event “What Have We Learned? Improving Development Policy Through Impact Evaluation” where they highlighted the impact of DIV for its catalytic role in investing in evaluation and scale-up of evidence-based programs.
The White House Global Development Council October 2016
In 2016, the White House Global Development Council highlighted DIV as an example of the Obama Administration’s and USAID’s Commitment to evidence-based innovation. DIV was included in the White House Global Development Council’s progress report as an example of the Obama administration and USAID’s commitment to evidence-based innovation.
FortuneSeptember 21, 2016
Fortune's article This Startup Has Brought Off-Grid Solar to 65 Million People mentions the role that DIV helped play in providing grant funding to d.light to help grow its home solar business. The Shell Foundation, USAID and DIV, and the United Nations Capital Development Fund provided an addition $5 million toward the new round of $22.5 million.
BrookingsJune 10, 2016
The 2012 Brookings Blum Roundtable report Old Problems, New Solutions: Harnessing Technology and Innovation in the Fight Against Global Poverty features a section entitled Delivering U.S. Leadership: Roles for the Public Sector. In this section, DIV was mentioned as a venture capital-style fund that awards competitive grants to pilot, rigorously test, and scale cost-effective development solutions.
April 20, 2016
Nesta UK’s book “Innovation for International Development” includes the case study for DIV supporting Innovation for Poverty Action at their next stage of funding to expand research to understand how improved health worker productivity is affecting household health outcomes and the extent to which the Zambian Government is retaining its highly motivated health workers. It also offers three lessons from DIV.
January 7, 2016
DevEx’s article Why this $5 million may matter most for Off Grid Electric discusses DIV’s grant to Off Grid Electric, the first company to receive all three rounds of funding. The article explores the overall DIV process and its history of grants and discusses both its increasing relevance to social entrepreneurs and its success at getting the most bang for its buck.
Harvard's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation's article Top 25 and finalists for Innovations in Government Award announced by Ash Center includes DIV as one of the finalists. The article provides a blurb describing what DIV is and how it goes about seeking and testing innovative ideas. It also provides information about DIV's investment so far, as well as details about some winners of DIV funding.
In the 2nd edition of the book Moneyball for Government, the chapter on Data and Evidence in Foreign Assistance highlights DIV. A review of the book by U.S. Senator Chris Coons mentions how the authors of the book have a wealth of personal experience and considerable insights on DIV innovations as well as the innovations of other organizations.
DevEx September 24, 2014
DevEx's article entitled Major donors launch new fund to support innovation discusses the $200 million launch of the Global Innovation Fund by USAID, the U.K. Department for International Development, Swedish aid agency SIDA, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Omidyar Network. The article also mentions how the fund draws on some of the lessons learned from past experience with programs at agencies like DIV.
The Washington PostJuly 30, 2014
In 2014, then Senior Program Manager of DIV Jill Boezwinkle was nominated for a public service award for her work with Dispensers of Safe Water project. The Washington Post article Federal international venture fund helps yield clean drinking water in Uganda, Kenya discusses DIV and its work helping to launch the project.
The Financial TimesJune 18, 2014
The Financial Times article Innovation fever breaks out as development landscape shifts discusses how DIV uses an open competition to solicit ideas for tackling poverty. It also discusses DIV's strategy of supporting innovations that demonstrate they work, which is more often seen among Silicon Valley investors.
DevExSeptember 23, 2013
DevEx’s article Is the global aid community ready to ‘design for impact’? discusses the process of IDEO’s nonprofit arm applying for a DIV grant to improve sanitation in Ghana. Ultimately, after IDEO’s previous work in sanitation helped them to form a hypothesis and propose a solution, DIV awarded a $100,000 grant.
National JournalJune 21, 2013
The National Journal's article How to reinvent Foreign Aid discusses how DIV funds not only start-ups with ideas to improve infant mortality, increase literacy, promote clean energy, and fight corruption, but also projects that are intended to reach country-wide.
Andy Feldman's Gov Innovator PodcastAugust 25, 2013
Gov Innovator Podcast Episode #28 is entitled Harnessing Silicon Valley funding approaches to drive breakthrough solutions in the public sector: An interview with Jeffrey Brown, Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) Program at USAID. The interview includes an overview of DIV, information about Stage 1 funding and an example related to strengthening the work of frontline health workers in India, information about Stage 2 funding and an example related to bringing safe power sources to villages in India, information about Stage 3 funding and an example related to promoting safe drinking water in Kenya, an overview of what it takes to run a staged grant program, and the applicability of DIV’s approach to other policy areas.
Memorandum from the OMBJuly 26, 2013
In a 2013 memo to the heads of all Federal Departments and Agencies that was co-signed by the directors of the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Policy Council, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Council of Economic Advisers, the White House encouraged the U.S. government to harness evidence and evaluation. As part of this effort, OMB stated that it would help agencies to develop innovative, evidence-based competitions and cited DIV as one of only a few examples.
Coalition for Evidence-Based PolicyJuly 11, 2013
A memorandum from Jon Baron of the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy with the subject line Update - Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy described DIV as a highly-promising evidence-based initiative out of USAID and desccribed how the program works.
White HouseJune 24, 2013
In a White House blog entitled We the Geeks: Innovation for Global Good, DIV is cited as a program that is seeding, testing, and scaling the next generation of powerful innovations in development. The blog also highlights and describes two DIV grantees in particular, Mera Gao Power and Dispensers for Safe Water.
In a United Nations University working paper entitled It’s All about MeE: Using Structured Experiential Learning (‘e’) to Crawl the Design Space by Harvard economist Lant Pritchett, Salimah Samji, and Jeffrey S. Hammer, Pritchett describes DIV as promising program out of USAID that will "invest in projects that will produce development outcomes more effectively and cost-efficiently while managing risk and obtaining leverage.”
The LancetDecember 1, 2012
In the Lancet’s article entitled In the Global Fund's court: experimentation, evaluation, and the AMFm, DIV is mentioned as an organization that shares the view that processes that permit or enable experimentation and learning to be institutionalized have great promise. This institutionalization includes facilitating systematic development of solutions for complex problems, potential for scaling up, and protection from the usual disincentives and risks of innovation.
Hillary ClintonNovember 8, 2012
In November 2012, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Secretary Clinton delivered remarks on USAID's Higher Education Solutions Network. In the speech, Secretary Clinton said: “We’ve also created new funding mechanisms that will help bring new ideas to scale like our Development Innovation Ventures program, which is supporting new solutions to prevent electoral fraud and to expand access to credit for underserved populations.”
NextGovMarch 14, 2012
In a NextGov article entitled Tackling government innovation through a new funding model, DIV co-founder Maura O'Neill discusses how DIV uses the Silicon Valley model of staged financing where there is more funding for better developed and proven projects and less funding for earlier stage and riskier efforts.
The Center for Global DevelopmentJuly 2011
The Center for Global Development’s essay Technology and USAID: Three Cheers and a Thousand Cautions discussed how early recipients of DIV’s programs include strong examples of following a model of being incremental, public-good, focused, and well-evaluated.