Current Projects

Can Tho Province, VietNam - January 28, 2015 A young girl standing on a boat, which is full of watermelons, is controlling drones to photograph how bustling floating markets Floating Cai Rang

Overview

The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan (WDI) was founded in 1992 on the belief that a thriving private sector was essential to the development of an economy. More than 25 years later, WDI continues to embrace this premise by working with firms in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to develop profitable business models and apply business approaches to non-profit organizations working in markets that are not served by the for-profit sector.

We apply our extensive experience working with firms in LMICs to develop business models with a focus on professional education, healthcare, finance, and energy, in addition to offering measurement and evaluation services. Our engagement model involves WDI staff, research fellows, faculty from the University of Michigan (U-M), faculty from other leading business schools, and/or teams of University of Michigan graduate students working with our clients to develop solutions. These solutions are tailored to the clients’ comparative advantage while accounting for the constraints and opportunities specific to the target market.

The following is an overview of ongoing or completed projects during the last 12 months, categorized by sector or service area.

    Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum (USA, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon)

    WDI is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary organization. As a result, it often engages multiple sector and services teams in our work. The following project undertaken by both our Education sector and Performance Measurement and Improvement service demonstrates our holistic approach. The Education sector is implementing Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum — a classroom-to-classroom, action-learning course on international business cultures that brings together undergraduate students from Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and the U.S., supported by the Stevens Initiative. The course is expected to run four times at the Ross School of Business, starting in Winter 2020. Participants will attend lectures by international faculty, work on interregional teams through synchronous and asynchronous exchange, employ field research methods to learn about one another’s business cultures and create a final project that captures their cross-cultural learnings. The program will equip young people in the U.S. and MENA region with the competencies they need to communicate, problem-solve and collaborate in a global team environment—all essential 21st century skills in an interconnected world. In collaboration with the Education sector, the Performance Measurement and Improvement service is leading the design and implementation of an impact evaluation of the program on students in the U.S., Libya, Lebanon and Egypt. In addition to assessing the impact of the program on student outcomes (e.g. empathy, cross-cultural communication skills, business skills and knowledge), the data will also be used to improve the course and develop generalizable knowledge on how to increase the impact of virtual exchange courses.

    CIPE Bahrain Economic Diversification and Access to Finance in Bahrain

    The Center for International Private Enterprise, WDI, and Tenmou (a Bahrain-based angel investor network) are collaborating to strengthen the Bahraini investment ecosystem from the investors’ side and to unleash the growth potential for Bahraini SMEs. WDI is supporting Tenmou with the delivery of a mentorship program, which matches two cohorts of 25 Bahraini small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a mentor. Mentors provide their mentees with one-on-one guidance over four months. At the end of each cohort, a select number of SMEs will participate in a pitch night where they will pitch their business to a panel of investors. WDI is training the mentors on how to work effectively with their mentees through a mentorship toolkit, short videos, and live webinars with a mentorship expert. WDI is also working with Tenmou to incorporate gender lens investing training sessions into a program to educate Bahraini investors on the potential positive returns of investing in Bahraini startups, especially those run by women, and prepare startups to pitch and attract investors.

    Good Business Lab (India)

    Good Business Lab (GBL) is a lab that uses research to find common ground between worker well-being and good business practices. This project focused on the go-to-market strategy for two tools GBL has developed, Pratibha and STITCH (Supervisors' Transformation in To Change Holders) are training and assessment tools designed to help transform frontline workers to supervisors. The project provided a complete market analysis and recommendations on contracting and pricing strategies.

    MADE (India)

    WDI is a founding partner of the Michigan Academy for Developing Entrepreneurs (MADE), along with Poornatha Foundation in India and the Zell Lurie Institute at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. MADE was established to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in low-and middle-income countries through local Entrepreneur Development Organizations (EDOs). MADE connects the resources of the University of Michigan (U-M) with the EDOs in the field and provides other support to EDOs. T that is based on the EDOs needs. MADE has involved students and/or faculty from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, psychology department, Institute for Social Research, Stamps School of Art and Design, Law School and School of Education.

    Poornatha (India)

    MADE has supported Poornatha by developing a twelve month Go-To-Market strategy. Specific recommendations were made on the industry/sector that Poornatha should focus on. The recommendations build on Poornatha’s success serving clients of India Bank and operators of retail electronic outlets through its ‘Empower’ training program. The training is offered in several different Indian languages to reach a wider audience.

    MADE continues to support Poornatha in working with other EDOs for delivery of the ‘Empower’ training in Senegal & Kenya (see below)

    Poornatha has also developed an ‘Investor Awareness’ program offered through the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL), which is one of the largest depositories in the world. The course was launched by the Union Minister of Finance on May 7th, 2022.

    Private Equity Support (Kenya)

    Work with PES is focused on developing a systematic approach for assisting locally (Kenyan) owned SMEs by equipping them with the necessary training and skills, providing one-on-one support and then developing a template for providing such assistance in the future based on the learnings from the one-on-one offerings. MADE helped develop two business assessment surveys - intake and diagnostic. The intake survey is a short survey that provides PES with information on whether an SME is suited for its business offerings - consulting & advisory services. The diagnostic survey is a longer one that provides PES with a comprehensive picture of the various aspects of an SME’s business after PES takes it on as its client. 

    The intake (short) survey was used at a workshop that PES held in Nov 2021 with some local SME owners. MADE is also coordinating a pilot of the ‘Empower’ training in Kenya. The training will be held virtually and open to SME owners in different countries in Africa. This will be the second knowledge transfer project between EDOs.

    LvBS Consulting (Ukraine)

    Teams have been working with LvBS Consulting to develop a consulting program focused on marketing. A survey tool has been developed to help identify areas in which the clients can focus their efforts, and training materials have been identified to help educate clients in specific areas of marketing. A longer and a shorter version of the marketing survey was finalized based on client feedback who shared the surveys with a few SMEs they work with. 

    MADE also began developing a general consulting process playbook including a framework of critical factors for building a consulting practice. 

    Institut Africain de Management (IAM) (Senegal)

    MADE developed a framework for knowledge transfer between the EDOs and an implementation plan for a pilot project. The project focused upon  knowledge transfer of Poornatha’s ‘Empower’ training modules (described above) to IAM. The pilot session was held in Dakar in Nov 2021. Ten participants (SME owners) were trained on the ‘Empower’ training modules. 

    NGO Leadership Program (Poland, Slovakia)

    WDI works with the Weiser Center for Europe & Eurasia (WCEE) at U-M to offer NGO Leadership workshops to non-profit leaders from across central and southeastern Europe. The workshops cover marketing, strategic planning, resource mobilization, fundraising and management to help NGOs run more effectively and sustainably. In 2021, the workshop will be held online for emerging NGO leaders from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia in partnership with Bratislava-based partner, Hekima.

    NGO Leadership Program (Bratislava)

    WDI works with the Weiser Center for Europe & Eurasia (WCEE) at U-M to offer NGO Leadership workshops to non-profit leaders from across central and southeastern Europe. The workshop in Bratislava covers marketing, strategic planning, entrepreneurship, fundraising and management to help NGOs run more effectively and sustainably. In 2022, the workshop will be held in-person in June in partnership with Bratislava-based partner, Hekima. Twenty-five participants will come from six countries: Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, North Macedonia, and Moldova. Supplementary online modules on topics including leadership, social media marketing, and conflict resolution will be available to all participants.

    Biomass Gasification Scale-Up and Commercialization

    WDI is supporting commercialization of gasification technology, which generates renewable power and organic fertilizer/biochar from agricultural waste. With a grant from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for AgBio at Michigan State University, WDI worked with Jose Alfaro, assistant professor of practice at U-M’s School for Environment and Sustainability and WDI Research Fellow. As part of the project, WDI completed market studies for the initial markets of Costa Rica and Michigan, supported advancements in the engineering and design of a commercial-scale product, and initiated commercial agreements with partners and customers.

    Chihuahua e-Mobility

    WDI is working with the Instituto de Innovación y Competitividad (I2C) of the State of Chihuahua to prepare for the transition to electric mobility (e-Mobility) in the automotive industry. The goal of this project is to help Chihuahua develop a statewide strategy to increase its competitiveness and tap into current and future business opportunities in this changing sector. WDI’s work includes conducting a global e-Mobility ecosystem mapping, assessing Chihuahua’s strengths and identifying gaps and opportunities, and developing a roadmap to e-Mobility with actionable recommendations for the state’s e-Mobility strategy.

    National Science Foundation (NSF) Fertilizer

    WDI is supporting commercialization of a new technology developed by researchers at the University of Michigan to produce ammonia for fertilizer in a small-scale, distributed way using renewable energy. This work is part of a grant that U-M has received from the National Science Foundation Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program. WDI is conducting an analysis of potential markets for this technology, identifying top priority markets in LMICs, and conducting a deeper analysis of top markets including market sizing, customer segmentation, analysis of competitive alternatives, and a preliminary market entry strategy.

    Wind Energy Market Entry in Brazil and South Africa

    WDI is supporting the growth of Industry.AI's renewable energy portfolio in Brazil and South Africa. In early 2021, a Ross MAP team identified Brazil as a high-potential market to expand the company’s wind energy artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) products. WDI is further developing a market entry strategy and identifying specific opportunities for Brazil, as well as conducting market analyses to determine the landscape for wind and other AI and IoT technology opportunities for Industry.AI in South Africa.

    Aravind Eye Care System (India)

    The Aravind Eye Care System is beginning a strategic planning process for the next five years.  This project focused on the Chennai hospital. For 2028, Aravind-Chennai has daily volume goals of 6,000 outpatient visits and 500 surgeries across its main hospital, secondary centers, and vision centers. The five-year strategy from 2023-2028 for Aravind-Chennai focused on the key organizational pillars of human resources, operational excellence, training and education, research, IT, and innovation. A general framework that could be used by the other Aravind hospitals was also included.

    Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Infection Prevention and Control (Kenya)

    The William Davidson Institute is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary organization. As a result, WDI often engages multiple sector and services teams in our work. The following project undertaken by both our Healthcare sector and Performance Measurement and Improvement service demonstrates our holistic approach. WDI is working with global medical device company, Becton, Dickinson & Company (BD), to assess the impact of the new program, Infection Prevention and Control, in Kenya. The goal of the program is to strengthen health worker and patient safety through appropriate safe intravenous infusion therapy practices, leveraging BD’s longstanding knowledge and safety-engineered technology designed to reduce the rate of needle-stick injuries in healthcare workers, thus contributing to the prevention of injection-transmitted infections such as HIV and other blood-borne pathogen transmission.

    Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Lab System Strengthening – Labs for Life

    The William Davidson Institute is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary organization. As a result, WDI often engages multiple sector and services teams in our work. The following project undertaken by both our Healthcare sector and Performance Measurement and Improvement service demonstrates our holistic approach. The goal of the program is to support quality laboratory systems which are needed in order to effectively scale-up HIV prevention, care and treatment efforts. WDI’s work includes developing the Monitoring and Evaluation design and implementation plan, and collecting data to measure the impact of the program activities that include Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) training and BD mentorship, in multiple labs across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and India.

    Busoga Health Forum (Uganda)

    Busoga Health Forum (BHF) is a community-oriented organization dedicated to improving the health and welfare of people living in the Busoga region and beyond. BHF is interested in developing a profitable production operation that targets diabetes management business opportunities, specifically the production of diabetes diagnostics and treatments.  A large, growing demand for diabetes diagnostics within the market, and no local production were among the factors leading to a recommendation of developing a local test strip manufacturing facility in Uganda.

    Clinica de Familia (Dominican Republic)

    Clinica de Familia was established to serve as a comprehensive family care clinic that provides quality care to people throughout La Romana province.  The goal of this project is to develop recommendations on imaging equipment to purchase to generate revenue in support of the other clinic services.  The recommendations will be based on a comprehensive analysis of the costs and benefits including demand for each type and the cost of installation, maintenance and operations of each type.

    Hospital Management Education Modules

    WDI’s Healthcare Delivery sector is offering an online pilot program to equip management executives of private hospitals, clinics, and healthcare delivery enterprises in low- and middle-income countries with the skills to improve efficiency through better processes, and to allocate costs more accurately for better strategic and pricing decisions. The program includes modules on Process Analysis and Optimization and Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing. The program consists of online, asynchronous training for each of the two modules; synchronous remote class sessions via Zoom; and a team-based action learning project based on a real business challenge at the participating institutions. Participating hospitals to date include Nyaho Medical Center in Ghana and the OSME Hospital in Mexico.

    Identifying Sources of Economic Development Funding for a Digital Health Organization

    WDI is supporting an Africa-based private sector organization with obtaining grant funding to develop its digital health product further to prepare it for use by potential public sector clients. During the first phase of the project, the WDI team identified potential funding sources and captured key information on each to help inform the client's fundraising strategy.

    International Center for Rehabilitation (Ghana)

    The International Center for Rehabilitation (ICR) is a new rehabilitation clinic in Kumasi, Ghana opened by Dr. Abena Tannor, the only practicing physical medicine and rehabilitation physician in Ghana. This project was to develop a business plan in support of the long-term vision of ICR to become the leading and largest rehabilitation medicine and training organization in sub-Saharan Africa.  The recommendations focus on ensuring operating profitability in the clinic in the next 8 months and launching a business to manufacture, sell, and distribute the hand rehabilitation device designed and developed by a team of U-M engineering students and Dr. Tannor to complement the clinic’s service.

    International Finance Corporation, Africa Medical Equipment Facility

    The Africa Medical Equipment Facility (AMEF), launched by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and supported by the government of Norway, connects lenders and medical professionals to improve the availability of medical equipment across Africa. The program has three pillars: 1) financial risk-sharing for banks, 2) training for lenders, and 3) training for leaders of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) focused on healthcare. The funding is focused on increasing essential healthcare investments in the region, while the training for lenders and healthcare SMEs was developed to ensure a smooth process. To date, IFC has engaged WDI to deliver AMEF training courses to both client financial institutions and healthcare focused SMEs in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as provide follow-up coaching support to AMEF trainees.

    Joint Learning Network on Universal Health Coverage – Engaging With Private Sector Healthcare for Universal Health Coverage

    WDI collaborated with Aceso Global to facilitate a series of roundtable discussions for the Joint Learning Network on Universal Health Coverage (JLN). The series focused on engagement with the private sector to further the aim of achieving universal health coverage in multiple low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In collaboration with Aceso Global, WDI co-chaired roundtables that convened global experts on private sector healthcare and policy in the areas of attracting private sector investment in healthcare, public-private contracting of healthcare, and healthcare regulation. The knowledge generated through the roundtables was used to develop a project focused on supporting health ministries in LMICs with developing knowledge and tools to work with the private healthcare sector.

    Medicines for Malaria Venture – Long-Acting Injectable

    Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) developed a target product profile (TPP) to help guide the development of a long-acting injectable (LAI) product for malaria prevention. There are ongoing efforts to develop LAI drugs and the WDI Healthcare team is working to provide insights into the trade-offs between LAI product characteristics from the perspective of key stakeholders in several target countries. The insights generated from this work will help to inform future product development decisions and, if applicable, a revised TPP.

    Nyaho and OSME Pilot Training

    WDI’s Healthcare Delivery sector is offering an online pilot program to equip management executives of private hospitals, clinics, and healthcare delivery enterprises in low- and middle-income countries with the skills to improve efficiency through better processes, and to allocate costs more accurately for better strategic and pricing decisions. The program includes modules on Process Analysis and Optimization and Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing. The program consists of online, asynchronous training for each of the two modules; synchronous remote class sessions via Zoom; and a team-based action learning project based on a real business challenge at the participating institutions. Participating hospitals to date include Nyaho Medical Center in Ghana and the OSME Hospital in Mexico.

    Primary Care Modeling

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation) is making time-sensitive decisions for addressing challenges in primary healthcare, polio eradication and other priority areas. Light-touch research on efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery would add significant value for decision makers as they navigate a range of potential investment and implementation options. Given the quick pace and dynamic context, research should build on existing knowledge and tools, utilize small samples and rely on short feedback loops. To address this need, the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan (WDI) proposed conducting a set of discrete research activities. Each activity draws on WDI’s deep experience applying a business lens to healthcare challenges in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The activities include:
    • Capturing both quantitative and qualitative data related to how problem solving, decision making and “running a business” is done at the district level, to better understand management practices and their effects on healthcare efficiency and quality.
    • Utilizing WDI’s proof-of-concept simulation model to capture the effect of technology and/or process interventions on the efficiency and quality of immunization services in various LMIC healthcare settings.
    WDI research outputs to facilitate data-driven decisions by Gates Foundation staff, grantees and government partners, leading to more efficient and effective healthcare systems, is the primary outcome of the work.

    Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus

    WDI is a member of the Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus consortium. SHOPS Plus is USAID’s flagship initiative in private sector health. The project seeks to harness the full potential of the private sector and catalyze public-private engagement to improve health outcomes in family planning, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and other health areas. SHOPS Plus supports the achievement of US government health priorities and improves the equity and quality of the total health system. SHOPS Plus aims to increase use of priority health services by:
    • Improving the enabling environment for the private health sector
    • Strengthening provision of private sector information, products, and services, resulting in expanded access for underserved populations
    • Increasing effective public-private engagement
    • Sharing innovative, emerging, and tested private sector models.
    • Applying a total market approach
    WDI’s role on the project is to utilize its business expertise in the healthcare sector to support development of market-based analysis and pricing approaches.

    SHOPS PLUS Madagascar Health Enterprise and Innovation Ecosystem Mapping and Development

    Through the Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus USAID-funded project led by Abt Associates, WDI developed a Madagascar Health Enterprise and Innovation Directory based on a mapping activity that identified innovative health enterprises in Madagascar, and the partners and types of support available to them. The directory illustrated the types of financial and technical support available to health enterprises, and the partners that provide various types of support. WDI leveraged the insights gathered through the mapping activity to contribute to the development of recommendations that explore how USAID/Madagascar can promote enterprise innovation, leverage private sector resources, and maximize priority health outcomes through financially sustainable health enterprises. WDI provided the SHOPS Plus team in Madagascar with technical guidance related to a business plan competition offered in collaboration with Orange Fab, which supports development of new health enterprises that positively affect low-income populations. The WDI team also developed Health Entrepreneurship basic and advanced training curricula for students at Madagascar’s Faculty of Medicine at the University of Antananarivo.

    United Health Futures Taxes on Tobacco, Alcohol, and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

    This work builds on an economic modeling project previously completed for the Global Fund.  WDI is designing and building a Python-based tool for estimating changes in excise tax revenue and product consumption given a change in excise tax rates for tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages. It is expected that the tool will be used eventually by a multilateral task force.

    Total Systems Effectiveness Gates Investment Support (Global)

    This project created a model to assess the business case for various initiatives/new technologies that will allow investors to understand whether a specific technology or initiative would be appealing to business partners, and, if not currently appealing, to determine how much funding would be needed to make the technology financially appealing to business partners.

    U-M Center for Global Health Equity (CGHE) + Global Health Design Initiative (GHDI)

    WDI is partnering with the U-M CGHE and the School of Engineering GHDI to design a rubric to estimate the probability of success of future commercialization of student-designed technology and devices. During the summer of 2021, a small team used two Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation student-designed devices in a pilot process with an eye toward commercialization of one or both of these devices in a Ghana Rehabilitation facility.

    Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Lab System Strengthening – Labs for Life

    The William Davidson Institute is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary organization. As a result, WDI often engages multiple sector and services teams in our work. The following project undertaken by both our Healthcare sector and Performance Measurement and Improvement service demonstrates our holistic approach. The goal of the program is to support quality laboratory systems which are needed in order to effectively scale-up HIV prevention, care and treatment efforts. WDI’s work includes developing the Monitoring and Evaluation design and implementation plan, and collecting data to measure the impact of the program activities that include Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) training and BD mentorship, in multiple labs across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and India.

    Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Infection Prevention and Control (Kenya)

    The William Davidson Institute is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary organization. As a result, WDI often engages multiple sector and services teams in our work. The following project undertaken by both our Healthcare sector and Performance Measurement and Improvement service demonstrates our holistic approach. WDI is working with global medical device company, Becton, Dickinson & Company (BD), to assess the impact of the new program, Infection Prevention and Control, in Kenya. The goal of the program is to strengthen health worker and patient safety through appropriate safe intravenous infusion therapy practices, leveraging BD’s longstanding knowledge and safety-engineered technology designed to reduce the rate of needle-stick injuries in healthcare workers, thus contributing to the prevention of injection-transmitted infections such as HIV and other blood-borne pathogen transmission.

    Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum (USA, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon)

    WDI is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary organization. As a result, it often engages multiple sector and services teams in our work. The following project undertaken by both our Education sector and Performance Measurement and Improvement service demonstrates our holistic approach. The Education sector is implementing Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum — a classroom-to-classroom, action-learning course on international business cultures that brings together undergraduate students from Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and the U.S., supported by the Stevens Initiative. The course is expected to run four times at the Ross School of Business, starting in Winter 2020. Participants will attend lectures by international faculty, work on interregional teams through synchronous and asynchronous exchange, employ field research methods to learn about one another’s business cultures and create a final project that captures their cross-cultural learnings. The program will equip young people in the U.S. and MENA region with the competencies they need to communicate, problem-solve and collaborate in a global team environment—all essential 21st century skills in an interconnected world. In collaboration with the Education sector, the Performance Measurement and Improvement service is leading the design and implementation of an impact evaluation of the program on students in the U.S., Libya, Lebanon and Egypt. In addition to assessing the impact of the program on student outcomes (e.g. empathy, cross-cultural communication skills, business skills and knowledge), the data will also be used to improve the course and develop generalizable knowledge on how to increase the impact of virtual exchange courses.

    DAI Market Systems and Partnerships ROI Tool

    WDI's Performance Measurement and Improvement team is working with AlphaMundi Foundation (AMF) to provide guidance and dissemination support for a Women's Inclusion and Empowerment Return on Investment tool. This tool is being developed by MarketShare Associates under USAID's Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships (MSP) activity, which is led by DAI. MSP seeks to build the evidence base for the return on investment of women's empowerment in low- and middle-income countries. WDI and AMF will contribute to the development of the WIE-ROI tool, extract lessons learned from pilots, and foster update of the tool. This work will build off of WDI and AMF's work together on the Gender-Smart Enterprise Assistance Research Coalition (G-SEARCh project).

    Developmental Evaluation Pilot Activity (DEPA-MERL), Digital Strategy

    Developmental evaluation (DE) was created to evaluate innovative programs that operate in complex environments and are thus expected to adapt over time. The Developmental Evaluation Pilot Activity (DEPA-MERL), developed under the U.S. Global Development Lab’s Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Innovations (MERLIN) program at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is testing the effectiveness of DE in the USAID context. The DEPA-MERL consortium consists of Social Impact (prime), Search for Common Ground (Search), and WDI. As part of the consortium, Social Impact and Search are implementing DEs while WDI is serving as an evaluator to assess the effectiveness of this approach in the USAID context.

    In early 2020, USAID launched its first-ever Digital Strategy in order to align the Agency’s vision for development assistance with the world’s evolving digital landscape. USAID’s Innovation, Technology, and Research (ITR) Hub, formerly the U.S. Global Development Lab, is responsible for leading the strategy implementation. DEPA-MERL launched a new DE in mid-2020 to support up to four of the Strategy’s 15 implementation initiatives by providing insights into how the initiatives work within their teams and with each other as well as timely input for decision making. For the first time at USAID, the Developmental Evaluator is being embedded remotely into the initiatives due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The WDI team also conducted an analysis across the three DE pilots that occurred during the first five years of the MERLIN award. The report, Advancing the Use of Developmental Evaluation: A Summary of Key Questions Answered during a Multiyear Study of Developmental Evaluations Implemented at USAID, shares findings and lessons learned across the experiences to facilitate learning from the implementation of DE in the USAID context.

    To learn more about the previous pilots or to access guidance the consortium has developed for organizations, managers, and evaluators that seek to implement the developmental evaluation approach please go here.

    Evaluation of Business Accelerator Programs in LAC

    WDI's Performance Measurement and Improvement team, together with Good Business Lab, will conduct an ex-post evaluation of TechnoServe business accelerator programs that have operated in Chile, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama since 2008. Using WhatsApp and phone interviews to collect data from program participants, we seek to estimate the sustainability of the programs' impact on the entrepreneurs and their businesses.

    G-Search

    The Gender-Smart Enterprise Assistance Research Coalition (G-SEARCh) comprises a group of six like-minded impact investors: AlphaMundi Foundation, Acumen, SEAF, Root Capital, AHL Venture Partners and Shell Foundation, working to help scale purpose-driven businesses and gender lens impact investing for more sustainable and inclusive economies through actionable evidence, fostering dialogue and collaboration across sectors. As part of this effort, the William Davidson Institute’s (WDI) Performance Measurement and Improvement team will develop and execute robust research to generate evidence on improvements in the financial and social performance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that receive gender-lens investments and incorporate gender-smart activities across their business processes. The goal of this research is to provide knowledge and lessons to SMEs as they seek to become more inclusive and gender-equitable, and to impact investors, as they allocate resources to gender-smart interventions and approaches so that impact investing becomes a tool for gender transformation. The consortium has released the G-SEARCh tested tools & approaches for gender lens investing as its first product.

    Mathematica – Measurement, Learning and Evaluation in the Nutrition Sector (Africa, Asia)

    Under this project, WDI is collaborating with Mathematica to support efforts by a global health organization to enable innovation across the value chain and disseminate learnings about sustainable business models in low- and middle-income markets. Supporting an ambitious learning agenda, WDI has helped develop a comprehensive MLE framework to support achievement of strategy goals for a portfolio of projects seeking to improve the nutritional status of low- and middle-income consumers in Africa and Asia. In addition, WDI has led the documentation and assessment of business model innovations tested by private sector partners and their impact through the development of comprehensive case studies and other knowledge products designed to stimulate replication of successful approaches in other markets.

    Primary Care Modeling

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation) is making time-sensitive decisions for addressing challenges in primary healthcare, polio eradication and other priority areas. Light-touch research on efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery would add significant value for decision makers as they navigate a range of potential investment and implementation options. Given the quick pace and dynamic context, research should build on existing knowledge and tools, utilize small samples and rely on short feedback loops. To address this need, the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan (WDI) proposed conducting a set of discrete research activities. Each activity draws on WDI’s deep experience applying a business lens to healthcare challenges in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The activities include:
    • Capturing both quantitative and qualitative data related to how problem solving, decision making and “running a business” is done at the district level, to better understand management practices and their effects on healthcare efficiency and quality.
    • Utilizing WDI’s proof-of-concept simulation model to capture the effect of technology and/or process interventions on the efficiency and quality of immunization services in various LMIC healthcare settings.
    WDI research outputs to facilitate data-driven decisions by Gates Foundation staff, grantees and government partners, leading to more efficient and effective healthcare systems, is the primary outcome of the work.

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