Overview As part of the Disruptive Technology Initiative, the World Bank’s Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation (FCI) Global Practice is pleased to announce the launch of the Disruptive Technologies for Development (DT4D) Challenge. The goal is to identify and pilot scalable disruptive technology solutions in World Bank Group (Bank Group) operations to maximize their development impact.
This challenge addresses the need for the Bank Group to adopt disruptive technologies to enhance the impact of operations and policy advice in member countries. Like other large organizations, private and public, the Bank Group is introducing a tool to experiment and learn how to integrate and operationalize disruptive technologies to achieve development impact.
All Bank Group project teams who have a keen interest in leveraging a disruptive technology for their engagements—and believe this technology could be scaled and applied to other projects—are highly encouraged to apply for the challenge by submitting a brief proposal on or before March 1, 2019. What are the objectives? The objectives of the DT4D Challenge are threefold: 1. To create awareness and provide a space for the Bank Group and disruptive technology providers to learn how to best operationalize disruptive technologies in developing countries. 2. To foster a more systematic integration of emerging technologies into the Bank Group projects and policy advice. 3. To ensure that knowledge and lessons learned are captured, shared, and applied by way of an open knowledge mechanism for Bank Group staff.
What is the DT4D Challenge looking for? The challenge is focused on the pilot phase of the innovation cycle, whereby technically viable or proven disruptive technology solutions can be matched with suitable Bank Group activities. Rather than promoting new technologies on their own merit, the primary goal of is to identify technologies that offer the most effective solutions to an underlying challenge. Successful pilots could be scaled up subsequently through Bank Group operations or national policies; these will not be supported by the challenge. Applicants are highly encouraged to link their proposal to a current project/operation or a pipeline activity. Applicants should regard the award as seed or co-financing to facilitate the testing of a disruptive technology for their project.
The challenge is sector-agnostic.
The proposals are expected to identify development challenges that can be addressed with disruptive technology solutions and (i) if addressed, have the potential to leapfrog countries’ development (e.g., access to finance or energy) in the context of a single country, or (ii) are persistent and constant among different regional (i.e., more than one country) or sectorial (e.g., transport, agriculture, etc.) contexts.
Who should apply? Any Bank Group unit/team, from any of the Global Practices, Cross-Cutting Solutions, and the IFC, may apply. In this first round, IFC colleagues who wish to apply will need to team up with their World Bank counterparts. Projects and activities supporting the use of disruptive technologies for development impact in all Bank Group member countries are eligible. Proposals must be submitted by regular, open-ended, and term staff from across the whole Bank Group. Implementing teams are expected to be comprised of Bank Group technical experts and STCs.
How many winners will there be and what will they receive? We expect to select a total of 7-9 project winners in April 2019. Each winning team will receive $150K (on average) in funding for FY2019-20 implementation.
This round includes funding for up to two (2) grants as sub-tasks under the Japan-World Bank Group Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation ASA grant funded by the Japan Policy and Human Resources Development Fund (PHRD), subject to the terms of PHRD’s World Bank-Japan Partnership Grants Program.
Award amounts will depend on demonstrated need and cost of the proposal. Depending on fit and availability of services, winning teams will also be eligible to:
Receive coaching, mentoring, and technical advice from a network of advisors; Be part of TED talk-communications training; Receive expert guidance throughout the course of design sprints; Be considered for incubation services through the Bank Group’s ITS Technology and Innovation Lab.
What are the criteria for funding? Proposals must include the following elements:
A well-defined and relevant problem statement that can be addressed with an existing technology solution Evidence of link to existing operation or pipeline activity Evidence of support from Senior Management (in the first round, we are asking teams to indicate whether they have secured endorsement of their proposals from the Country Director/Manager/Country Program Coordinator – if country-specific – or from the Practice Manager if region or sector-specific)
For grants funded as sub-tasks under the Japan-World Bank Group Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation ASA grant: the DT4D Secretariat will assess and recommend a few proposals based on the evidence of intent for the World Bank to partner with Japanese stakeholders, from public or private sectors including industries, entrepreneurs, academics or non-profit organizations and strengthen development impact through operational synergies or joint actions.
o Eligible Expenditures: (i) Consulting and Non-Consulting Services; (ii) Salaries and travel expenses of World Bank Staff and associated indirect costs; (iii) contractual services [e.g. publication, translation, knowledge management and dissemination] (iv) workshops and seminars, renting of space for events, equipment rental, printing, video production, etc. o Ineligible Expenditures: (i) Salaries for Civil Servants in recipient countries hired as consultants or otherwise; (ii) Procurement of motor vehicles and equipment; and (iii) IT hardware and software.
The challenge does not aim to develop new technologies that are experimental and are not commercially available.
What is the selection process? Proposals that include these elements will be evaluated using a two-stage selection process. In the first round, Bank Group staff submit a brief proposal via an online application form, which, if eligible, will be reviewed by a selection panel comprising multi-GP Bank Group experts. The highest-ranking teams will be shortlisted and invited to develop and submit full concept notes by mid-March 2019. Projects will be scored according to a specific set of weighted criteria that are mapped to the following areas.
1. Transformational impact (weight of 30%) a. Does the proposal make a compelling case that the solution will address the challenge? Do they elaborate on why this is the best solution possible? Do they convey how this is superior to previous approaches? b. Did they indicate that, should this pilot be successful, the approach and/or proposed technology solution could be used in another country and/or project, thus multiplying the potential effects of the technology solution? 2. Feasibility of proposed pilot (weight of 30%) a. Does the proposal seem realistic with the 12-month timeframe and resources available to the team? b. Is the proposed technology readily available (i.e. proven and tested, meaning either commercially available or accessible for deployment)? Can it be procured and deployed within the DT4D 12-month grant timeframe? c. Are the indicators appropriate to measure proposed results? 3. Strategic relevance (weight of 20%) a. How aligned is the proposal with the strategic objectives of a country partnership framework or regional/sectorial strategy? b. Is there a strong interest from Bank Group counterparts/client? 4. Team composition, collaboration, and commitment to success (weight of 20%) a. Will the team’s combined background and experience increase the likelihood of success of this pilot? Is there a clear demonstration of commitment? b. Does it foster collaboration among different GPs, between WB and IFC, or otherwise?
What are the expected results? Selected teams will implement the disruptive technology solution and test its adequacy in effectively addressing the specific development challenge in real country context. Successful solutions might demonstrate the potential to be scaled up through the Bank Group portfolio and country programs, expanding the impact of disruptive technology solutions for development. While scaling up plans are highly encouraged in proposals, the scope of the DT4D Challenge will be on piloting and testing the application and impact of these technologies onto Bank Group projects.
Pilots are expected to have specific results indicators, which will be measured by Bank Group project teams. Each pilot will have its specific monitoring and evaluation framework for results measurement. It is expected that pilots that are not successful will offer valuable lessons learned for adapting the technology to the context, enhancing its effectiveness (if possible), or understanding why such approach cannot be applied to the specific development challenge.