For the past few years, hundreds of development practitioners from around the world have gathered at Devex World to exchange ideas, learn from each others’ experiences and network. The event is hosted by Devex, the media platform and social enterprise serving the global development community. This year’s event took place in Washington, DC on June 14 and attracted 1,000 participants, including two staff members from FINCA International.
The conference’s keynote themes strongly resonated with FINCA’s work and, in many ways, reflected conversations that are ongoing in our hallways and offices. Those themes included Innovating at Scale, the Data Revolution, and New Funding Models. Styled after TEDx talks, the conference’s anchor sessions were broken into 10-15-minute segments during which experts offered crisp insights and takeaways. It is clear that the transformative changes we are experiencing at FINCA in our mission to promote financial inclusion are also changing the landscape and nature of work for stakeholders and organizations across the development spectrum.
Inspired by the conference’s approach to transmit succinct ideas drawing from complex subjects, we would like to share some of our top takeaways from the various sessions.
The Data Revolution session cast light on both challenges and opportunities posed by the surge of digital technologies being deployed across the development landscape. As FINCA knows very well, there are myriad new ways to collect, compile and use data. But as we increase our data collection activities, are we also:
Highlights from The New Funding Models revealed that the larger development community is at long last adopting an approach in which FINCA was an early pioneer, namely that development should model market-driven methodologies. Panels discussed how the sector is transitioning away from a grant capital approach to the new world of blended finance, particularly in an environment that prioritizes innovation. Many of the ideas and use cases shared will be well understood by the FINCA team, including:
Devex World 2018 was memorably informative and engaging as a platform for development practitioners to convene, converse and connect around themes pertinent to their work and impact globally. There were sessions that directly spoke to FINCA’s experience, particularly of leveraging technology and innovation to extend financial services to millions of people at the base of the economic pyramid. The insights gleaned from the conference will inform our planning and programming as we look to strengthen our reach and impact around the world.