USAID’s Maura O’Neill: ‘Scale from the beginning’

This video and blog post are produced and published by Devex Impact, a global initiative by Devex and USAID focused on the intersection of business and global development that connects companies, organizations and professionals with the practical information they need to make an impact.

When Maura O’Neill was an entrepreneur, she never liked the idea of pilot projects. “You’ve got to think about scale from the very beginning,” said O’Neill, who today is USAID’s chief innovation officer.

O’Neill seems to bring this same ambitious, impatient spirit to the work of public-private partnerships for development. “As businesses, as development agencies, we’ve got to think about big scale from the beginning,” she explained in an interview with Devex president Raj Kumar on the sidelines of the BSR annual conference in New York.

One way USAID is helping private sector and public sector organizations partner to build effective development projects at scale is through the launch of the new online platform, Devex Impact, said O’Neill.

“We’re asked all the time by businesses: How do we do a great partnership?” she said. Devex Impact, as a platform for sharing best practices and information, will “really reduce the cycle time to faster, better impact.”

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BSR’s Aron Cramer: “Partnerships are Essential” (VIDEO)● How Business Is Changing the Global Development LandscapeFive Keys to Effective Partnerships for Development

About the author

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    Andrea Useem

    As Associate Editor and Content Director for Devex Impact, Andrea creates and manages cutting-edge content on the intersection of business and international development. An experienced multimedia journalist, Andrea served as leadership editor at the Washington Post and spent three years as a foreign correspondent in Eastern Africa reporting for publications including the Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, and San Francisco Chronicle.