Creative Development Lab

For more than 40 years, Creative has combined innovation with proven experience to deliver successful development programming globally. Our programs strengthen the ability of local organizations and communities to pursue the positive change they seek.

An integral part of this work, the Creative Development Lab promotes and channels new strategies to address development challenges through science, technology and media. Our approach embodies the Principles for Digital Development, including human-centered design, designing for scale and sustainability and addressing privacy and security.

Utilizing the latest in technology and applied research, the Creative Development Lab works on big data, geographic information systems, media, education and financial technology to design innovative solutions to today’s pressing development challenges.

  • Big Data: By employing project-collected data and outside information, the Data Focus Area supports innovative project design and implementation. Harnessing big data, from digital footprints to call records, allows programs to think critically about preexisting notions and create evidence-driven interventions.
  • Geographic Information Systems: The Geographic Information Systems Focus Area deploys systems for digital data collection, mapping, spatial analysis, visual storytelling, location intelligence, logistics and other location-based services that support a place-based development approach. This includes initiatives from community asset mapping with the CreativeMapper™ platform to Track and Trace services to support textbook delivery.
  • Media: The Media Focus Area designs and implements strategic communications that integrate digital media techniques with traditional programming to target, reach, engage, monitor and change behaviors of key individuals and communities. With communications tools, projects can predict electoral violence through social media, develop campaigns to counter violent extremism and promote literacy through storytelling.
  • Education Technology: The EdTech Focus Area designs and deploys digital solutions to strengthen education information systems, teacher training, parental/community engagement, student learning and literacy.
  • Financial Technology: The FinTech Focus Area works with financial institutions, mobile network operators, and fintechs to provide financial solutions to development challenges. This includes facilitating digital financial services to overcome barriers in underserved markets, such as access to finance, delivery of educational materials and agricultural trade facilitation.

The Big (Data) Gender Bias

Development implementers are using “big data” from cellphones and remittances to track the flow of refugees and migrants. Learn More...


On phone, TV and radio, Ethiopian families find support for remote learning

While schools were closed in Ethiopia due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the USAID READ II program reached students, their families and community educators in new ways to keep them engaged in learning. Learn More...

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