Innovation

Helping to produce more effective and efficient methods of delivering impact for poor and marginalised communities.

We recognise by unleashing people’s creativity they can help provide sustainable solutions for people living in developing countries.

Innovation can be valuable if a problem can be correctly identified, and subsequently supported by the development of an effective solution. However, innovation is at its most valuable when it can be effectively implemented and then scaled for maximum impact. It is also important to consider an innovation ecosystem, or lack off, is hugely influential and can either be a barrier or enabler to innovation.

We take a holistic approach; supporting our clients to assess their needs and subsequently aid them to identify how innovation can enable them to achieve their goals. We support clients and individuals to be more innovative in addition to; promoting, co-creating and enabling innovation.

We work with donors, multi-national corporations, the public sector, entrepreneurs and micro small and medium enterprises to effectively utilise innovation and to achieve development impact.

Our approach is to work across the innovation process ensuring the innovation improves people’s livelihoods. Specifically, this includes:

  • Supporting people and organisation to be innovative. At the heart of innovation are people and their capacity to understand problems and create effective solutions. On one hand we support people and organisations to understand and publicise the benefits and impact of innovation. On the other hand we support people to develop their innovative capacities, acting as innovation champions for their organisations and their communities.
  • Promoting innovation. The focus of our innovation programmes is to improve the lives of poor and marginalised communities. Clients and communities are often clear on the impact they would like to achieve, (for example; access to clean and cost effective energy), but unclear on how to achieve this. Innovation is most effective when goals can be broken down into clearly defined problems, which can be addressed. Our approach is to support clients to better understand the innovation process, and promote it as a tool to solve problems.
  • Co-creating innovation. To put innovation into practice, we work with solvers to co-create solutions to clearly identified problems. We work with ‘solvers’ at all stages of the innovation process, supporting them to test, pilot, implement and scale their solutions. Innovation can be from high-tech, low tech or no-tech, but essentially it ‘does something different’. Ultimately we support solvers to ensure they achieve maximum development impact.
  • Enabling innovation. To enable innovation to flourish; we recognise the need to establish an enabling environment which encourages and rewards people to develop effective solutions to problems. We approach enabling innovation by working with regulators, national and local government, civil society and the private sector to create an effective regulatory and public policy environment.

Services

IMC provides a range of services designed to promote and implement innovation within vulnerable and isolated rural communities, including;

  • innovation programme design, implementation and evaluation
  • innovation prize design, implementation and evaluation
  • designing and managing innovative finance mechanisms
  • innovation eco-systems diagnostics/assessment
  • enhancing the enabling environment for innovators
  • training and technical assistance to support the commercialisation of innovation
  • development of practical toolkits to support individuals and institutions to embed innovation
  • fund, project and programme management
  • knowledge management and dissemination of learning
  • open innovation, and supporting solvers to crowdsource solutions to development challenges

Recent projects

Global: Evaluation Management Unit, Amplify

IMC has been appointed as the Evaluation Management Unit for the Department for International Development (DFID), funded Open Innovation for Development Programme (Amplify). Key objectives of the independent evaluation are both to understand the effectiveness of Amplify’s model in terms of its structure and approach, its combination of funding and technical assistance and its ability to attract new actors into the creation of solutions for development; and to identify the impact of the programme’s solutions on people, particularly the poor.

The evaluation will take a three tiered approach assessing the: development funding model; the solutions generated against the challenge and alternative solutions; and, the impact of final solution on end users. Key services include the design of an evaluation design, including elaboration of the theory of change, logframe, review and finalisation of evaluation questions. Data collection will include reviewing routine monitoring data, counterfactual data, key informant interviews and the use of challenge case studies.

Global: Ideas to Impact, DfID

IMC is leading the implementation of DfID’s global 5-year Innovation Prizes programme working in collaboration with Innocentive, GVEP, ITAD and IDS. The programme is launching a variety of innovation prizes designed to stimulate and incentivise research to develop and deploy technologies for low-income consumers that will improve poor people’s access to affordable clean energy, safe drinking water and resilience to climate change. In so doing, it will incentivise the involvement of the private sector and promote innovation that directly benefits low-income households.

South Asia, Africa: Connect to grow, DfID

Connect to Grow is a three year, £3.1m component with the purpose of brokering partnerships and implementing scalable pilot projects between Indian and developing country enterprises, to diffuse innovation in the Agri-Food and Health Sectors. The end goal is that of the pilot projects which are implemented, will result in scalable proofs of concept. This programme is the first of its kind, testing the potential for south-south transfer through cross-country partnerships.

IMC will develop a matchmaking platform, whereby established enterprises in India and enterprises in South Asia and Africa connect and access bespoke financial and technical assistance to support the creation of the partnership and implementation of the pilot venture. IMC will design, implement and manage this matchmaking platform-competitive grant fund hybrid, along with our core team of partners.

Global: Public Sector Governance Innovation, OECD

IMC worked closely with the OECD Observatory of Public Section Innovation (OPSI) which systematically collects, categorises, analyses and shares innovative practices across the public sector via an online interactive database. The objective of this assignment was to identify innovation in governance reform programmes and to explore options for possible replicability. The study focused on: sub-national governance reform, reforms aimed at improving accountability in the public sector, and anti-corruption initiatives. IMC produced a ‘Guide to Innovation’ that summarised general principles for good governance and a policy brief on supporting innovative practices.