WDI Speaker: Finding New Ways To Measure Development Impact

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Traditional development organizations must embrace radically new approaches if they expect to help the 700 million people who live on less than $2 a day lift themselves out of poverty, argues the next WDI Global Impact speaker.

Joshua Kaufman, director of the Office of Evaluation and Impact Assessment at USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab, will share how the Lab is applying science, technology, innovation, and partnerships to accelerate impact in response to unprecedented global development challenges, including shifts in capital flows, technological breakthroughs, a new culture of innovation and social entrepreneurship, and massive acceleration of connectivity.

Kaufman’s Jan. 20 talk, “A 21st Century Approach to Development,” will begin at 5 p.m. in Room R2240 at the Ross School of Business. It is open and free to the public.

“The global development problems of today are complex and require new ways of thinking and partnering,” said Heather Esper, program manager of WDI’s Performance Measurement Initiative (PMI). “That’s why we are excited to have Josh Kaufman share more on the work of the USAID Global Development Lab, which was created to address such challenges by convening diverse stakeholders to innovate and implement solutions.

We are also excited to be working with the lab in pioneering new and practical ways to assess hard-to-measure results within such complex systems and enable quicker learning and adaptive management from data.”

PMI is part of two consortiums that were awarded funding from the lab to test and implement innovative approaches to measuring development impact.

The consortiums seek to provide measurement solutions that depart from traditional approaches that can be overly rigid and often are slow to deliver results. Instead, the measurement solutions that will be tested by the consortiums seek to increase efficiency, efficacy and provide the ability to more quickly adapt to changing circumstances. (Read the full article on PMI’s work with the lab here.

The focus of the U.S. Global Development Lab, established in April 2014, is twofold: produce breakthrough development innovations by sourcing, testing, and scaling proven solutions to reach hundreds of millions of people; and accelerate the transformation by opening development to people everywhere with good ideas, promoting new and deepening existing partnerships, bringing data and evidence to bear, and harnessing scientific and technological advances.

Kaufman joined USAID in 1996.  He previously served as the deputy director of the Office of Innovation and Development Alliances and worked for many years in the USAID Center for Democracy, Human Rights and Government.

Kaufman has a master’s degree in International Affairs from George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in Politics and Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies from Brandeis University.

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