What development executives need to know

    Development leaders need new tools and new sources of knowledge as competition in innovation, funding and talent scouting continues to grow. Photo by: Ryan Rayburn / World Bank / CC-BY-ND 

    Those of you who are among the hundreds of thousands of avid Devex readers may have noticed our expanded coverage of issues important to development executives. That’s because — as this survey starkly indicates — we’re in a new era in global development. We can’t rely on the way things used to work, on the one or two traditional donors that made up most of our budgets, on the idea that as long as we’re doing good work everything will be fine for our organizations. Today there’s real competition for ideas, innovation, funding, talent and position in the marketplace.

    In this more open and competitive market, the bar is raised for top executives at NGOs, foundations, implementing partners, donor agencies and corporate citizenship departments. Not understanding the aims of China’s new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank or the best practices around NGO re-branding is becoming a kind of malpractice for a development executive. Are you up to speed on the cost of impact evaluations? Do you know how your organization stacks up against your peers in terms of women in executive and board positions? Have you integrated impact investing into your strategy?

    As the development industry gets shaken up by technology, innovation and new sources of funding, there will be winners and losers. The pie is clearly growing — more funding from emerging donor countries, billionaire philanthropists, the private sector and the like — but that doesn’t mean the existing players will automatically benefit. There are many new entities in development and a multiplicity of approaches. This is a good thing, as development is becoming a more a vibrant, active and aggressive field. All the better if it creates more urgency for results.

    For those of us with management and leadership responsibilities, this is an exciting and challenging time. We have the opportunity to move our organizations in new directions and to drive our missions further than ever before. But to do it, we need knowledge and insight designed for us. That’s what Devex Executive Membership — the essential tool for leaders who need the latest breaking news, in-depth analysis and access to extensive reference databases — is all about. It’s an investment, true. But supporting our team of reporters and analysts who gather the information you need to be more effective in your leadership role is sure to generate a return. So as you read our most recent series on the future of global development, I encourage you to think about your own future in this changing field.

    We welcome your support as we drive forward on our mission to ensure that all development professionals — including executives — have the tools they need to continue changing the world. Join us. 

    What do nearly 1,000 senior-level executives from NGOs, donor agencies, corporations and the public sector think about the future of global development? View our complete series — featuring exclusive insights and interviews with top executives — to find out.

    About the author

    • Raj Kumar

      Raj Kumar is the Founding President and Editor-in-Chief at Devex, the media platform for the global development community. He is a media leader and former humanitarian council chair for the World Economic Forum and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His work has led him to more than 50 countries, where he has had the honor to meet many of the aid workers and development professionals who make up the Devex community. He is the author of the book "The Business of Changing the World," a go-to primer on the ideas, people, and technology disrupting the aid industry.