Trends and innovation

Climate change, demographic change, geopolitical shifts and the diversification of actors will require international NGOs to fundamentally rethink their purpose, their roles, and how they fund their work.

We provide leadership and insights on upcoming trends to help organisations adapt to a constantly challenging and changing environment.

Foresight and innovation news and views

Computer monitor numbers
7 September 2017
Blockchain technology is predicted to be a disruptive force over the coming years. Here are some examples of how it's already being used in the international development sector.
Woman looking out to sea
30 August 2017
Conflict, climate change, the rise of new aid actors – the world will be quite different in 15 years’ time. New research suggests how INGOs can remain relevant in the aid sector of the future.
Aerial highway
24 July 2017
Research shows that organisations and leaders who take a long-term view outperform those who don't. What can you do to improve your future-thinking?

Case studies from our innovation library

Coffee Flour

Using coffee pulp waste as a food source

21 billion kilograms of coffee pulp waste is produced every year. Coffee Flour aims to eliminate this problem while at the same time improving economic opportunities in coffee-growing communities.
22 September 2017
Azraq refugee camp

Combining eye scan payments and blockchain to empower refugees

A trial project in Azraq refugee camp lets people use iris recognition devices to purchase food and goods.
4 July 2017
Azraq camp

The solar powered refugee camp

A solar plant in Al Azraq refugee camp in Jordan is helping to improve the lives of the people living there.
16 June 2017

Futures resources

Global ideas and innovation concept
Experiences, insights and practical advice from more than 20 leading practitioners in innovation for international development, brought together in one collection
1 April 2016
Old tools on a wooden table
Nesta, The Open University and the Rockefeller Foundation have partnered to create DIY Learn, an online learning programme in innovation.
This research aims to develop a better understanding of the income profiles of UK-based INGOs, generate insight into their financial sustainability, and identify any trends associated with growth or decline in income.
26 April 2016
A woman in Nigeria with a Hello Tractor smart tractor
Innovation is critical for organisations wanting to meet the scale of global challenges, increase their impact and stay relevant in a changing context.
19 April 2016
DIY Toolkit NESTA cover
This is a toolkit for inventing, adopting or adapting ideas that can deliver better results. It's quick to use, simple to apply, and designed to help busy people working in development.
5 January 2016
WEF Strategic Foresight webpage
The World Economic Forum online community engages policy-makers and leaders from business and civil society in strategic dialogues to better understand and address complex and long-term challenges.

The future of development on Twitter

1 year ago

What’s the macroeconomic outlook for #Tanzania? Less #growth, more repression, explains @JustinSandefur. @IMFNews

1 year ago

"Government innovators are everywhere" - a gov't innovation manifesto by @davemosk ht @emmablomkamp #psilabs

1 year ago

The neuroscience on how to motivate a teenager