The “development world” has existed for more than five decades and is still going through a process of evolution for the better. People are striving to find newer and better ways of ensuring impact and accountability of development funding. With growing trend of using mobile devices for collection of data from the field, new opportunities have opened up to push the boundaries of maximizing impact.
However, to be able to fully leverage on the new opportunities, some fundamental transformations have to take place in the way development projects are generally executed:
From Sample-based Aggregated Data to Census-based Individual Data: Since data from the field are collected mostly for the purpose of developing reports, aggregated and sample-based data is generally sufficient. However, from the point of using data for targeted interventions, what is necessary is for individual beneficiary data to be collected at regular intervals at census level and instantly digitized.
From “Data for M&E” to “Data for Day-to-Day Management”: Individual beneficiary data is collected but often not digitized in typical development project settings since that data is used mostly for M&E, and not as much for day-to-day managerial decision-making. The motivation for why individual data needs to be digitized can be seen in a new light if the purpose of data collection is seen from the perspective of management and operations.
From Project End Learning to Project Life-Cycle Iterative Learning: Typical development projects are evaluated through a baseline and an endline assessment, thus losing out on the scope for iterative learning during the execution process. Through continual data-gathering and intelligent use of that data for corrective measures, the concept of impact evaluation can be seen through a new lens.
From Data Collection to Information Viewing: When it comes to data, field officers are generally limited to data collection rather than viewing of processed information based on the data. With the realities being provided by new mobile technologies, field officers now have the opportunity to view processed information on the basis of which they can take more informed decisions.
mPower is at the forefront of helping development agencies use information intelligently for better decision-making, managing and monitoring. We are a pioneer in the field of ‘development intelligence’, an area that is surprisingly much less developed than ‘business intelligence’. One core aim of our effort is to make ‘development intelligence’ an intricate part of the DNA of development agencies in the next 5-10 years.
We look forward to exciting partnerships with development agencies in our journey to the next frontier of development.