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Global: Piloting Innovative Technology for Populations Worldwide

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Frontier Technologies 2

2019 - 2022
Client: FCDO
Implemented by: DT Global UK
CHALLENGE

The evolution of digital technology constantly yields many new features that can potentially be applied to development challenges. But it’s important to test these in smaller pilots and understand how they can be best applied before rolling them out to wider programming. Development staff who use these new technologies also need proper training to ensure they are used efficiently and effectively.

APPROACH

Frontier Tech Hub offers quick and cost-effective ways for FCDO staff to pilot new technologies before adopting them into their programmes. We support FCDO staff to:

  • Stay on top of what is at the forefront of technology
  • Know how to apply those technologies
  • Know how to find other FCDO staff interested in frontier technologies

The programme works at the intersection of tech, innovation, and international development. It is underpinned by a methodology that blends several innovation methods (Lean Start-up, Human-Centred Design, and Agile) and emphasizes the importance of ‘real-time’ learning. To date, the programme has supported 19 pilots through two calls for proposals, with learning documented and integrated into each new call. These span technology from blockchain to machine learning to drones. The project has rapidly designed and launched further calls for proposals to identify solutions in response to COVID-19.

Frontier Technologies 2 works across two main components: Livestreaming and Futures. Livestreaming allows the FCDO to test frontier technologies through a series of in-field pilots. Futures directly engages with particular FCDO departments and country offices to help them understand how frontier technologies could help deliver their goals.

OUR GOALS AND RESULTS

Frontier Technologies 2 results to date include:

  • Piloted 19 frontier technologies—from blockchain to drones, to internet of things, to smart contraceptive vending machines.
  • Of these pilots, at least four have been supported to scale.
  • Implemented training workshops for over 500 FCDO and other government staff, including two Future of Climate, three Future of Money, and six Future of Elections sessions.

Learning & Innovation