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Ideas to Impact proves that innovation prizes can improve the lives of the poorest


The Ideas to Impact programme is coming to an end after a successful run of six years. Funded by UK aid and managed by an IMC Worldwide-led consortium, the aim of the programme was to solve development challenges by offering prizes for innovation. Ideas to Impact ran a series of prizes designed to spur participants to develop innovative solutions to problems faced by the poor in Africa and South Asia.  

In partnership with CLASP, Energy 4 Impact managed the Global LEAP Awards Refrigerator Competition and the Off-Grid Cold Chain Challenge (OGCCC) prizes. In a market that still requires evidence of the technology and business model, the programme demonstrated that the prize system could be a successful mechanism to foster innovation.  

“It was a tremendous effort which saw both established and new players participating in these prize challenges,” says Maria Knodt, Project Manager at Energy 4 Impact. “They successfully deployed local and international solutions for various productive use value-chains, such as milk and vegetable cooling”. 

Some invaluable learning on using prizes to drive innovation for development can be found in the following three papers: 

The key lessons of the programme are summarised in this blogpost