31 January 2013

Can Aid Blogs Impact Aid Innovations and the Sector Itself?

Ben Ramalingam says yes in a recent post:
I think there is a special role for the aid blogging community in asking such questions and demanding answers. We have seen in the past few years how bloggers have mobilised in a largely self-organised fashion to push back against various poorly considered ideas. 
I know there are many bloggers who want to engage with innovation in a serious fashion, and who are dismayed by the current hype surrounding it. We should be able to highlight the good and bad of what we see emerging from the aid innovation agenda. And aid agencies should be willing to open their ideas up to the views and scrutiny of this emerging, globally networked, community of thinkers and analysts. This kind of effort has, in other distributed sectors, developed into new crowd-sourced marketplaces for innovation such as Innocentive. There’s no reason why the same couldn’t happen in our sector.
On the whole, I do think Ramalingam is right. Aid blogs are not a solution by any measure and should be seen as a space that can and should set major agendas. However, they can serve as areas to raise questions about innovations, programs and ideas. Journalism, the traditional watchdog of sorts for an industry, has failed on the question of aid. The reasons are numerous and pointing fingers is a wrongheaded exercise. What it does mean is that there is space for openly pushing on ideas.

If aid blogs succeed in that manner they can be effective much in the way that Ramalingam outlines.