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Community Contribution

Delivering Technical Acceleration Services to Innovators in Emerging Markets

Donna Vincent Roa

Securing Water for Food (SWFF) helps farmers around the world grow more food using less water, enhance water storage, and improve the use of saline water and soil to produce food. Established as a critical adjunct to this grand challenge, the SWFF Technical Assistance (TA) Facility, an innovative, incubator-accelerator funded by USAID and operated by The Kaizen Company, was set up to provide bespoke, demand-driven support to 40 high-potential innovators (in 30+ countries) who are influencing water-ag progress and supporting the “farms of tomorrow.” Overarching Challenge: An innovation in the water sector, the SWFF TA Facility needed to ensure that we: 1) use industry-best and -next practices, including the collaborating, learning, and adapting framework, to help us to meet our overarching challenge of “doing international development differently” and delivering on our “We execute!” mission statement; and 2) provide acceleration services that would improve the innovators’ effectiveness, organizational capacity, and end-user impact. Approach: Using the CLA framework to guide our operations, we positioned the TA Facility and its ecosystem stakeholders to accelerate results and solutions to the problems that impact economic livelihoods, improve food security, promote sustainability, and alleviate poverty. Our case study focuses on how we used adaptive management, scenario planning, continuous learning and improvement, relationships and networks, and external collaboration to position the organization to influence quality of service and drive our ability to achieve results. Outcomes: Project performance, learning, and adaptation is directly influenced by a results-driven culture and high-performing team; clearly-defined success metrics; the ability to pivot, experiment, and fail; a refined capacity to deliver on-demand; and targeted acceleration services.