FIT aims to support testing of a range of creative solutions to development challenges, and provide organizations with the opportunity to learn and grow as innovators.
Our program aligns with the Whistler Principles to Accelerate Innovation for Impact Development and Global Affairs Canada’s definition of development innovation, which states that innovation is “ a process, a mindset, and means to enable new or improved locally-driven solutions for better results and greater impact, which benefit and empower the poorest and most vulnerable, including women and girls.”
Examples of innovation include business models, policy practices, approaches, partnerships, technologies, behavioural insights, financing mechanisms or ways of delivering products and services.
Innovative solutions must create inclusive opportunities for local communities from project conception to execution. For example, women and girls should play a role in project design, testing, learning and adoption of solutions.
FIT is guided by the Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, which provides context on Canada’s commitment to advancing development innovation and can serve as a reference for building your testing framework.
Once an idea has been researched and developed, testing the solution in the field is a key part of assessing its potential to effectively scale.
The information gathered during this stage can help organizations to either re-evaluate project design or demonstrate innovation scalability.
Regardless of the results of innovation testing, this process enables organizations to experiment and learn best practices. As part of our program, FIT will gather learning outcomes and facilitate knowledge-sharing among funded SMOs to build a stronger community of Canadian innovators.
Testing innovations enables organizations to establish Proof of Concept. The diagram below highlights this step in the process from ideation to sustainable scale.
Creating a Testable Hypothesis
Innovation testing is different than project implementation. Whereas project implementation uses existing approaches to achieve pre-defined expected targets or results, innovation testing provides an opportunity to try a new or improved solution and determine if and how well it works. Testing can lead to a proof of concept of an innovative solution by providing early evidence and assessment of its potential.
In order to conduct an effective proof of concept, SMOs must be able to validate, with evidence, whether their innovative solution achieved its intended results or not. Identifying a clear hypothesis with defined outcomes that can be measured is a key part of this process.
Developing Your Testing Framework
A Workshop for SMOs
How will you know if your innovative solution is achieving its expected outcomes? How can you determine its effectiveness?
Developing your testing framework is a crucial part of the innovation and testing process.
This learning resource provides an overview of the key steps to creating your framework, including stakeholder mapping, identifying outcomes and indicators, scheduling and collecting feedback, and more.
“Incorporating gender perspectives across both development processes and product development can lead to innovations that are socially transformative and have huge, positive economic implications”
— Toward Bridging Gender Equality and Innovation, October 2018
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