The democratization of development
World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)
August 8th, 2011
01:30 PM ET

The democratization of development

Editor's Note: Dennis Whittle is president of the Whittle Group and was co-founder of GlobalGiving.orgThis post is part of the Global Innovation Showcase created by the New America Foundation and the Global Public Square.

By Dennis Whittle – Special to CNN

When the World Bank's new headquarters was completed in the mid-1990s, ten years after I joined, its cavernous thirteen-story atrium space was deathly quiet.  There was an unwritten rule that staff did not linger there; we spent our time toiling away on expert analyses in closed offices, emerging occasionally for formal meetings but then retreating.  Visitors admitted to the atrium would be awed by its grandeur  - and many were intimidated into silence.

My, oh, my how the world - and the World Bank - have changed since then.  A couple of months ago, I went back to my old stomping grounds to witness an Apps for Development competition.  The Bank was holding an open competition to see who could come up with the best mobile phone apps using the Bank's storehouse of data.   Most of the finalists were scrappy young folks from both rich and poor countries around the world.  Not only was the Bank's atrium a beehive of activity, but there was even techno music pumping up the mood of the crowd before the announcement of the event's winners.  FULL POST

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Topics: Development • Innovation