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What is Ideas to Impact?

Funded by UK Aid, Ideas to Impact is an action-research programme designing, implementing and testing innovation prizes, to induce innovative solutions to development challenges in Climate Change Adaptation, Energy Access and WASH.

A five year, £10.9m programme that supports research and development in climate change, energy and WASH through a variety of innovation prizes designed to stimulate and incentivise development of technologies for low income consumers that will improve poor people’s access to affordable clean energy, safe drinking water and resilience to climate change.

Our innovation prizes are currently focused on Ghana, Kenya, Nepal and globally (DFID priority countries).
A key element of the programme is testing, researching and learning about innovation prizes for development. We are sharing this learning through learning briefs, papers, blogs and other learning materials.

Our Mission and Vision

Ideas to Impact is implementing innovation prizes to catalyze innovation on significant environmental and developmental problems, where conventional funding methods have thus far failed to do so, or not quickly and widely enough -  improve access to climate change, energy and water services.

Over five years, Ideas to Impact aims to induce:

  • At least seven new, affordable and accessible climate technologies developed for poor people
  • At least five affordable and accessible climate technologies deployed to poor people
  • At least £35m of new private investment in technologies and business models

And by 2025, Ideas to Impact goal is that:

  • 12 million people will have improved access to climate change, energy and water services through innovative, affordable technologies and business models for ‘base of the pyramid’ (BoP) consumers by 2025

Why Innovation Prizes?

Research and development is changing. The internet now provides boundless opportunity for posting problems to wide audiences, dramatically increasing the rate of problem resolution and opening up fields of endeavour to new participants from unexpected sources.

This process of open innovation is gaining momentum across the globe in both the public and private sector. Innovation prizes build on open innovation principles incentivising participation, generating a media buzz, and helping capture the imagination of communities. The Ansari $10m X Prize, for example, opened up the world to the possibility of commercial space flight and is credited with catalysing the commercial space industry.

Ideas to Impact will test and learn about the potential for Innovation Prizes to spur development outcomes and catalyse advances in environmental technologies for the benefit of the poorest.

Ideas to Impact Programme Director, Bryony Everett, discusses the potential of innovation prizes to support development outcomes and the aims of the UK Aid-funded Ideas to Impact programme.

We invite you to browse this site to learn more about our innovation prizes and programme learning.