The Whistler principles to accelerate innovation for development impact

The global ambition to eradicate extreme poverty as outlined in Agenda 2030 will not succeed with business-as-usual approaches.  We need path-breaking improvements to service delivery, products and policies beyond those currently available, and to new partnerships and funding modalities, including public-private cooperation. In this regard tackling the barriers to gender equality and empowering women and adolescent girls can have a transformative impact when incorporated into new partnerships and solutions.

A G7 commitment to innovation is pivotal to reach sustained, scalable and practical solutions to the world’s complex development problems. Innovations are concrete solutions – new technologies, business models (such as social businesses and bottom –of-pyramid programs), policy practices, approaches, partnerships and insights – that effectively address intractable development challenges and barriers to empowerment so as to improve the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable. Such a commitment includes a specific recognition that unlocking the potential of women and adolescent girls as innovators can transform the development of their communities.

In Whistler, G7 Development Ministers pledged to encourage path-breaking ideas and actions for inclusive and sustainable development that leaves no one behind. This includes innovations that can reinforce social and economic resilience for those in fragile states or at risk of extreme weather events and other natural hazards. With a view to accelerating inclusive, locally-driven innovation for development impact, G7 countries will work together to drive change in their own organizations and with partners to support pioneering solutions that challenge traditional models, approaches and partnerships, and encourage new models and  solutions that can deliver results. Doing so will accelerate the pace of change to improve the lives and livelihoods of the poorest and most vulnerable, including by reducing inequalities and empowering women and adolescent girls. Building on aid effectiveness principles and good practices and lessons, G7 Development Ministers will also encourage close collaboration across sectors for delivering development impact at scale.

The G7 Ministers responsible for humanitarian action and development assistance endorse the following principles to guide and accelerate innovation for development impact:

  • Promote inclusive innovation, with a focus on supporting the poorest and most vulnerable to have lasting development impact. Gender analysis is valuable in this regard. Women and adolescent girls, including those with disabilities, should play a decisive role in the design, testing, learning and adoption of innovative solutions, and should be engaged as both recipients of innovation and by supporting them with tools and resources as innovators.
  • Invest in locally-driven solutions and support and encourage local innovators and their partners in developing countries, including by sharing talent and resources from global networks with them;
  • Take intelligent risks by experimenting and using rigorous data, while ensuring that we do no harm, and investing more boldly once initial steps yield stronger evidence of the demonstrated impact and financial viability through proof of concept;
  • Use evidence, including disaggregated data, to drive decision-making to improve impact and cost-effectiveness by developing clear metrics early on and measuring progress against milestones on an ongoing basis to help identify the most effective innovations and the remaining gaps;
  • Seize opportunities to learn quickly, iterate and ensure the impact of promising innovations before scaling them up by also acknowledging failure and inefficiencies;
  • Facilitate collaboration and co-creation across public, private and civil society sectors and coordinate the application of scientific, technical, social and business innovations to leverage intellectual, financial and social resources from all, and share data, standards, results and learning widely;
  • Identify scalable solutions, including technologies, that demonstrate high potential to achieve and sustain significant impact and cost-effectiveness, and open the potential to reach millions of people in need in developing countries; and,
  • Integrate proven innovations into organizations’ larger programming by removing the internal and external barriers to using these solutions in current and future projects, and support the acceleration of growth and impact of proven innovations.