CARE Failing Forward
Breaking Inward: Digital Failures and Who Bears the Risk

Breaking Inward: Digital Failures and Who Bears the Risk

April 30, 2021

Zachary Vinyard from the One Acre Fund talks about how digital projects in Rwanda failed because of too many assumptions about what worked for farmers. His team has a new report on Digital Innovations, and how to get better. Key tips? Break inward. Design experiments so if they fail, the organization bears all of the extra risk and extra work, and the farmers you serve don't have to take it on. Also, don't assume just because the code works that it will work for people. The benefits we care about are to farmers, not to functional code.

Study, analyze, adjust quickly: the Bihar Technical Support Program’s concurrent measurement and learning approach

Study, analyze, adjust quickly: the Bihar Technical Support Program’s concurrent measurement and learning approach

January 19, 2021

Dr. Tanmay Mahapatra and Dr. Shridhar Srikantiah from CARE India’s Bihar Technical Support Program explain how they use data to catch failures and make adjustments in real time with their Concurrent Measurement and Learning approach. Learn more at: bihar.care.org

Data in the time of COVID

Data in the time of COVID

November 12, 2020

Clement Bisai from CARE Malawi talks about what he and his team are learning about how to do better remote data collection. Focus, listen to communities, and reflect regularly are his key takeaways. Don't expect to outsource everything. Digital remote data collection may be the best way to work in COVID-19, but we're already learning how to do it better.

Designing Data Systems in Crisis: Act Quickly, Iterate Fast, and Think to the Future

Designing Data Systems in Crisis: Act Quickly, Iterate Fast, and Think to the Future

April 20, 2020

Jay Goulden talks about designing a data system to collect information on pandemic response in 78 countries--a first for CARE. He says act quickly, iterate fast, and think what your system might need to be in two weeks or a month as the situation evolves. He also talks about reducing burdens on over-taxed staff, streamlining systems, and connecting data collection to data use. Oh--and make it beautiful to look at.

Don’t Jump Straight to Digital: What Ebola Taught Us About Trying to Force New Systems in Crisis

Don’t Jump Straight to Digital: What Ebola Taught Us About Trying to Force New Systems in Crisis

April 13, 2020

Holly Radice talks about how people have limited bandwidth to adopt new things in crisis, and how cash transfers in Ebola failed at digital solutions because of unrealistic expectations. Her recommendations: do everything you can to adapt and expand existing systems to push out cash safely, examine your context very carefully and frequently to see what market approaches work, and start planning now for cash transfers during recovery in a few months. Be empathetic to participants and financial service providers, and respect that everyone is affected. Finally, stay in touch with partners and cash working groups to find solutions that will support everyone.

It will never happen in 6 months: Lessons from building financial apps in Uganda

It will never happen in 6 months: Lessons from building financial apps in Uganda

March 4, 2020

Melch Natukunda from CARE Uganda talks about trying to build the first ever financial services app that linked poor rural women to banks. What's the biggest lesson? "it’s not just financial services. Anything we do should be trying to lighten women’s burden and help her with the other challenges she’s dealing with.” It's also about remembering that, "at a bank, someone is looking at this project and saying, 'is this giving me profit?' That will never happen in 6 months." You need at least 5 years to build something that will really work, but once you've got it, it can work for millions of people.

It’s All About Backup: When Experimental Systems Go Wrong

It’s All About Backup: When Experimental Systems Go Wrong

April 3, 2019

In our first ever Francophone episode, Fanomezantsoa Randrianarisoa from CARE Madagascar talks about what happens when you launch an experimental monitoring system before partners are ready for it. Besides challenges getting the data you need, there are serious risks to sustainability. Investing in people's skills, creating back-up plans, and aligning with global systems are some of the solutions.

Dans notre premier épisode francophone, Fanomezantsoa Randrianarisoa du CARE Madagascar explique ce qui se passe si vous lancez un nouveau system d’évaluation avant que l’équipe ne soit prêt. Il n’y a pas seulement les difficultés de trouver l’information, mais aussi les risques pour pérenniser le system. Les leçons appris comprennent : un appui au personnel, l’appropriation du system, et l’harmonisation avec les autres systems.

Digital Projects and the Danger of Expertise

Digital Projects and the Danger of Expertise

February 13, 2019

Mark Malhotra from CARE’s Innovation team talks about the process of designing digital solutions, and the danger of trusting experts when it seems like they aren’t delivering what you need. Human centered design, frequent check ins, and setting clear expectations with consultants all feature as tips to make your next digital experience easier. Tip: just because someone else in an expert, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

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