Aid agencies have often collaborated with big corporations or foundations based on a superficial understanding of what each collaborator has to offer. Expanding professional networks may allow agencies like USAID to broaden the types of partnerships they form, said Kristi Ragan, strategic adviser to USAID's Global Development Alliance from DAI, at a Feb. 10 event in Washington on network-centric development. USAID's Development 2.0 Challenge was an experiment in reaching non-traditional development players in an effort to spur innovation and help the poor, she noted at the DAI event, which was organized by Devex.
Ragan later spoke about the importance of trust in online network and the need to rethink our approach to technology. The event also featured DAI's Ulrich Ernst, who discussed about the potential of online networks and mobile phones, as well as Development Practitioners Forum President Tony Barclay. Guy Ben-Ari, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, highlighted civil-military cooperation and key prerequisites for building networks of development stakeholders. Cesar Hidalgo, of Harvard's Center for International Development, spoke about the Internet's role to foster community, and how network science may explain economic growth patterns.