The new Development Innovation and You update

Since Nesta launched the DIY Toolkit three years ago, it has been used by thousands of development practitioners to invent and adapt new ideas to improve their work. Alongside this, Nesta’s wider work on innovation and international development has expanded, including partnerships with UNDP, IFRC, MSF and the Institute of Development Studies, a new series of development-focused challenge prizes, and the launch of DIY Learn - our online learning programme in innovation.

We therefore felt it was the right moment to widen the scope of our DIY updates. We’ll continue to bring you updates on the DIY tools and their impact, as well as sharing wider news and views about Nesta’s international development work, and profiling innovators doing exciting work at the frontiers of the field.

We hope that you enjoy, please share the update with colleagues and get in touch to let us know what you think of the new format!

Profiling the development mutants

Each update, we'll be profiling an innovator working on the edge of development - the development 'mutants'. Here we talk to the innovation professional who coined the term, Giulio Quaggiotto, about the effect they're having on traditional development players.

Development news and blogs

  1. The DIY website and toolkit are now available in Mandarin and Russian. This brings us to five different language sites (with English, Spanish and French) as well as seven translations of just the toolkit. Find out more.
  2. In March, we partnered with the Institute of Development Studies to run the inaugural Digital Development Summit in London, focusing on the future of work in a digital world. Watch the keynotes and read about the event here.
  3. Find out about our Data Driven Farming Prize, which is seeking tools and approaches that source, analyse and translate data into actionable, timely and context-specific info for smallholder farmers to improve value from agricultural productivity.
  4. DIY Learn is our online learning programme in innovation, created in partnership with the Open University. It features ten bitesize modules, including our recent module of the month: the Building Partnerships Map.
  5. Are digital solutions good for farmers? Speaking to Nepali families in Jalala, Nesta found that any info-sharing solution must be timely, context-specific and respond to farmers' daily lives, skills and habits.

UNDP Asia-Pacific’s Ramya Gopalan and Haoliang Xu reflect on the achievements and lessons learned after three years of working on bringing innovation practice into the development world.

What’s inspiring us

Here we share a selection of thought-provoking content on innovation and development from around the world that has come across our radar recently:

  • Learn more about the Egyptian entrepreneurs turning trash into cash by finding novel ways to recycle waste across a diverse range of industries.
  • Global remittances are big business. Check out this long read on the innovators using blockchain to inject new dynamism and competition into the marketplace for refugee savings.
  • The Vaccine Alliance Gavi is cross-purposing technologies developed to increase global childhood vaccination coverage to help give citizens in the developing world a secure digital identity.
  • It’s hard to predict natural disasters, but it's possible to improve how we respond to them. Listen to this podcast for an overview of the Centre for Global Development’s latest report on innovations in disaster preparedness.
  • Finally, a provocative read on whether the development industry’s focus on ending poverty is distracting from the vital need to promote innovation.

Connect with us

For updates on the DIY Toolkit, innovation and development, follow us on Twitter @DIYToolkit. More resources on Nesta’s work can be found on our website, Twitter and Facebook.

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DIY Learn


Alex Glennie

Alex Glennie

Alex Glennie

Senior Policy Manager

Alex is a Senior Policy Manager in the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL).

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Isobel Roberts

Isobel Roberts

Isobel Roberts

Content and Communications Manager, Innovation Skills

Isobel worked in the Innovation Skills team as Content and Communications Manager, helping to build Nesta's learning and development offering.

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