Feed the Future Launches the Innovation Exchange
Feed the Future has launched a Feed the Future Innovation Exchange, a virtual platform designed to accelerate impact by connecting researchers working on food security challenges with funders and scaling partners.
Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, invests in research and innovation to develop new tools and approaches designed to sustainably reduce global poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in the face of complex, dynamic challenges. In order to enhance the impacts from the investments made in the multi-stage research pipeline, the Feed the Future Innovation Exchange will facilitate the adoption of proven technologies, management practices, and approaches by technology scaling partners such as development donors, impact investors, non-governmental organizations, policy makers, partner country governments and the private sector.
The new site, powered by the Global Innovation Exchange (GIE), showcases and curates food security solutions that meet a range of strategic priorities including the DryCard, a tool to ensure safe storage of grain, and the Manual Pivot Piping System, an approach to maximize the coverage of irrigation systems.
Each of the over 80 innovations currently exhibited on the site uses the GIE innovation profile format. The profiles allow interested partners to quickly see an overview of the characteristics and journey of each innovation, including a badge of support, which validates Feed the Future’s financial support in the form of a “Verified Funds” logo and the innovation’s inclusion in more targeted searches. Feed the Future has invested in thousands of innovations, including the Sweet Potato Leaves for Human Nutrition, Push-Pull System for Stem Borer Management in Maize, and the Smartphone App for Dairy Animal Ration Formulation, and will incorporate more innovations on the site as they become ready to be taken up by technology scaling partners.
Researchers will be able to use their innovation profiles as electronic ‘pitch decks’ to share accomplishments and significant milestones, which will provide an easily accessible means to report on the innovation’s progress as they secure additional support to further scale its impact. They will also be able to identify strategic partnerships and gain insights on the current state of innovation in their respective fields, such as platforms to access Elite, genetically diverse wheat lines, a Genotyping Tool for Cowpea, and Integrated Weed Management Approaches.
The launch of the Feed the Future Innovation Exchange represents progress along one of the core operating principles of the Global Food Security Research Strategy. Innovation platforms, such as this site, will facilitate interaction and collaboration among the various actors involved in generating and adopting new technologies and approaches, which will ultimately strengthen the agricultural innovation systems of partner countries, thereby, supporting their journeys to self reliance.
“The Feed the Future Innovation Exchange could be a useful tool for facilitating adoption of innovation, but it will probably be the most powerful in the context of building meaningful partnerships, not just promoting technologies or approaches,” says Carl Larkins, Chief of Party for the Feed the Future Agriculture Diversification Program in Malawi, “The Feed the Future Innovation Labs [and other Feed the Future research programs] are well suited to partner with USAID Missions and implementers to help them figure out if an innovation makes sense for their country and objectives as well as understand how to apply that innovation in a manner that achieves sustainable impact.”