The Devex innovation survey: How it worked

Devex, the world’s leading online community for more than half a million aid workers and international development professionals, announced today the foundations, NGOs, and aid agencies selected as the Devex Top 40 Development Innovators. The list of innovators was unveiled on the Devex Facebook page at

The Devex Top 40 Development Innovators were chosen based on a survey of more than 2,000 aid workers last month.

The survey’s first question showed each participant a randomly generated list of 10 organizations and asked the respondent to rate how innovative each organization is a scale of 1-5.

The second question, also using a scale of 1-5, asked each respondent to indicate to what extent the following statements applied to the 10 randomly generated organizations: 

  • Has a flat organizational structure and culture that allows good ideas to filter up.

  • Makes changes based on feedback from staff and external stakeholders.

  • Incorporates new technologies into operations and programs.

  • Cultivates a culture of data, measurement, and honest assessment of results.

  • Invests in research and development (R&D).

  • Focuses on improving operational efficiency.

  • Employs new business models and market-based approaches.

If a respondent was unfamiliar with any organization that appeared for them to rank, they could choose “don’t know” or “unfamiliar” to be presented with a different organization to provide feedback on.

Because a global audience would have been unfamiliar with most small organizations and thus unable to rate them in a survey, our methodology specifically included only the world’s largest international development organizations.

Read the Devex Top 40 Development Innovators announcement by Devex President Raj Kumar, and find out who’s on the list by visiting the Devex Facebook page at

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