Social Innovation Lab

May 10, 2017

Our cities. Our solutions.

Can you solve a wicked problem affecting thousands of people living in slums while sipping coffee in an air-conditioned room?
October 19, 2016

Her hands trembled when she borrowed her first $64; Now she’s giving advice to BRAC

The integration of mobile money into microfinance operations is one of the most exciting yet challenging prospects facing microfinance providers today. Mobile money presents a fast, cost-efficient and flexible alternative delivery channel through which money can be transferred, loans can be repaid and savings can be deposited.
June 28, 2016

Connecting the dots: Creating an inclusive digital ecosystem in Bangladesh

In April, BRAC, Access to Information (a2i), fhi360, USAID and IFMR LEAD jointly organised an event named ‘Digital financial inclusion: Innovations from Bangladesh’ to invite local stakeholders to discuss their experiences and emerging solutions (see a recent write-up by IMFR LEAD summarising the event).
May 30, 2016

Digital finance in Bangladesh: Empowering or excluding women?

This blog draws from discussions on the progress of digital financial services, during a seminar in Dhaka in April 2016. The seminar was organised by BRAC Social Innovation Lab, Access to Information (a2i) and USAID’s mSTAR project implemented by FHI 360. IFMR LEAD was the Knowledge Partner for the event. 
April 4, 2016

Resilience: The secret super power of South Asia

Many perceive South Asia as home to poverty, population explosion and disasters.However, this is only one side of the coin. The other side shows indomitable spirit of resilience that can be seen in grassroots communities across South Asia.
March 24, 2016

From disaster victims to frugal innovators: Learning from communities how to build resiliency

What are some of the most effective innovations taking place in South Asia, the region most vulnerable to climate change? What do we know about strengthening livelihoods, financial and social protections to increase resilience for the poorest? This post is the fourth in a series of blogs that will share BRAC’s lessons on building and scaling resilience to climate change.
March 15, 2016

Finance for flood-hit families: Reducing risk and raising resilience

What are some of the most effective innovations taking place in South Asia, the region that is bearing the brunt of climate change? How does one go about building resilience and from then to scaling? This post is the third in a series of blogs that will share BRAC’s lessons on building and scaling resilience to climate change.
March 3, 2016

No lines, no relief camp: 4 lessons on using mobile money for post-flood relief

The increasing effects of climate change should be reshaping the way that we think about poverty alleviation and development. For many households, the shocks from a natural disaster can lead to increased economic and social vulnerabilities. 
February 22, 2016
BLOG General

Scaling social innovation: An art or a science?

If there were a simple recipe for social innovation, anyone could easily transform an idea into an impactful solution reaching millions. Unfortunately things are a lot messier on the ground. Many ‘amazing’ innovations that promise to save millions of lives fail to scale and quietly disappear.
February 19, 2016

6 ways Bangladesh is fighting climate change

The yearly Frugal Innovation Forum at BRAC brings together leading practitioners from the NGO, corporate and entrepreneurial sectors along with academics and policy makers. It has proven a great platform for debate and the sharing of best practice.
November 16, 2015
BLOG General

How smartphones can revolutionise BRAC’s data collection

We use our smartphones for numerous quotidian purposes: taking photos, accessing social media, browsing the web, and of course, making phone calls. But BRAC has been employing these devices for an entirely different purpose, and it is extremely innovative.
November 12, 2015

FI2020 week in retrospect: Do we need microfinance and why?

Imagine a world where there is no access to financial services. You cannot save, which means you cannot set aside money for the future. You cannot access a loan, which means you are shut off from a limitless number of opportunities, including investing in an enterprise, purchasing a home or land, or maintaining household expenses when cash is tight. You don’t have insurance or any kind of buffer against shocks, such as medical emergencies in the family, a sudden loss of a job, or natural disasters. Would you be able to manage?