MERL Tech DC 2018 has ended
Back To Schedule
Friday, September 7 • 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Irresponsible innovation? Time for ICT4D to grow up and get its M&E house in order

Log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Feedback form is now closed.
In ICT4D, we literally do not know what we are doing.

Innovative solutions are piloted and trialled - but ​few scale successfully, and we aren't sure why​. We duplicate past experiments with little intentionality about testing different methodologies or iterating on an idea. We don't understand our impacts, intended and unintended, so we may be causing harm to the most vulnerable. Risk identification and mitigation ahead of deployment is generally poor. And innovations can be solutions looking for problems: disconnected from the context, real needs and capacities, and the wider field’s existing efforts.

Understanding the impact of our work through evidence, holding ourselves to account against sound ethical and best practice frameworks, and acting on this knowledge to improve practice over time, would improve outcomes; allow organizations to take better risks; and most importantly reduce harm to populations. These goals are weakened by underinvestment, a lack of openness around learning and evaluation, technical challenges and uncritical discourse. Monitoring and evaluation of innovative projects carried out by staff unaccustomed to new technologies may miss relevant assessment criteria. Pilots, innovation challenges, and other common funding mechanisms may have very light reporting requirements. And we don't have a culture of transparency around learning and evaluation.

But it’s time we professionalized. It's time to stop ‘innovating’ and start taking incremental steps towards excellence, fuelled by evidence.

In this provocative panel, we will discuss the evidence gap is - how many evaluations SHOULD we have? What SHOULD we know? How can we challenge policymakers to commit to starting to change the culture, and establishing a norm of evidence-based action in ICT4D?

avatar for Annette Brown

Annette Brown

Director, Research and Evaluation, FHI 360
Annette N. Brown, PhD leads the Research and Evaluation Strategic Initiative at FHI 360 and serves as editor-in-chief for the R&E Search for Evidence blog. Prior to joining FHI 360, Dr. Brown headed the Washington, DC office of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie... Read More →
avatar for Michael Eddy

Michael Eddy

Vice President of Analytics and US Country Lead, Global Innovation Fund
Michael Eddy is the Vice President of Analytics and US Country Lead at GIF, bringing a passion for innovative finance and the use of data and evidence for better decision-making. Prior to joining GIF, he co-founded and built Instiglio, where he designed the first impact bond in... Read More →
avatar for Anahi Ayala Iacucci

Anahi Ayala Iacucci

Senior Director, Humanitarian Programmes, Internews
Anahi Ayala Iacucci leads the Internews Humanitarian team as the Senior Director for Humanitarian Programs. Anahi plays a key role in developing Internews’ global Humanitarian program strategies; while also closely supporting teams in the field and managing Internews Emergency Response... Read More →
avatar for Laura Walker McDonald

Laura Walker McDonald

Director of Innovation, Global Alliance on Humanitarian Innovation
Laura Walker McDonald is Director of Innovation at GAHI, the Global Alliance on Humanitarian Innovation. She has spent eight years working on inclusive, appropriate technology for social change, at SIMLab and FrontlineSMS, and prior to that worked for the Red Cross in London. She... Read More →

Friday September 7, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm EDT
Academy Hall Main Room 1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20009