5 key insights from Devex World

By Devex Editor 26 July 2016

Over a month has passed since Devex World, the development event of the year, and some of the ideas shared by our speakers are becoming even more relevant in today’s complex world. We’ve picked five key insights from Devex World to help you get a head start in the new era of global development.

1. Megan Smith: Start off with the right stakeholders at the table

Megan Smith urges the development community to tap into technical expertise at the very beginning of every project and to make sure the right experts are in the room.

According to U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, we need to make decisions with technical staff in the room. “Add a chair to the table, a technical person, a civil engineer” and make sure that whatever you create, you integrate that knowledge right from the start.

Organizations should boost their creative confidence and teamwork to amplify success, but also to make their work cheaper, better and much more agile.

2. Zenia Tata: Adopt a global, exponential way of thinking and take a moon shot

Zenia Tata stresses the importance of adopting a new, exponential way of thinking and why all organizations should start taking “moon shots.”

XPrize’s Zenia Tata urged the Devex World audience to change mindsets, moving away from local and linear thinking towards a more global, exponential way of seeing the world. Instead of approaching work from a perspective of scarcity, the development community should adopt a perspective of abundance and “embrace technologies that will help us bridge this huge global divide.” A last piece of advice? Become more agile and learn how to fail fast, accept failure and take “moon shots” — don’t be afraid of bold, ambitious ideas and radical solutions.

3. David Miliband: Focus on multipartner engagement and align behind shared goals

The importance of agreeing on shared outcomes were front and center during an interview with David Miliband, where he also explained the need for political change and leadership.

President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband encouraged the public sector, NGOs and the corporate sector to align behind shared outcomes to more effectively tackle current crises. He also stressed the need for political leadership, political change and policy change within the humanitarian sector, urging “better aid, not just more aid.”

4. Sandhya Hegde: Nonprofits and businesses can share missions and co-exist in the same ecosystem

Sandhya Hegde believes that businesses and nonprofits should be less skeptical of working together and aligning behind shared missions.

Kholsa Impact’s Sandhya Hegde emphasized that there’s still a lot of skepticism around businesses and nonprofits working together. Many for-profit entities are “skeptical about doing good while investing,” whereas nonprofit actors often believe that profit motives are not compatible with serving others. Hegde called for more people to question these assumptions in an attempt to prove that it’s possible to build businesses that are both profitable and ethical.

5. Gayle Smith: An increasingly complex world requires scaled solutions

Gayle Smith discusses the importance of human-centered design and scaling solutions to create a lasting impact.

Challenges such as chronic conflict, epidemics and climate change all contribute to an increasingly complex ecosystem. U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Gayle Smith told the Devex World audience that in order to cope, the global development community will have to truly learn how to scale solutions and adapt to this new landscape.

What was your key takeaway or moment of the day from Devex World? Have your say by leaving a comment below. 

Follow Focus On: Devex World for more conversations emerging from the global development event of the year.

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