SIDWashington_GeoPollThis past week, you may have seen GeoPoll at the Ronald Reagan Center for International Development during the SID-Washington 2019 annual conference. We want to extend a thank you to all of those who attended the conference—especially those who stopped by the GeoPoll booth to discuss how mobile-phone-based survey research can make for highly effective monitoring and evaluation practices through data-driven decision making. We sincerely enjoy connecting with leaders in the development space and engaging in discourse about how GeoPoll’s platform can supplement initiatives for building local capacity for growth across the globe.

Amidst sharing information on GeoPoll’s capabilities with conference attendees, we were also fortunate to hear from some incredible minds during the learning sessions at SID-Washington this year. A couple of the sessions we attended last week have stuck out in our minds, so, for those who were unable to attend, we will share our key takeaways with you here.

The Mastercard Keynote Address from Tara Nathan posed food for thought. Nathan explained that there are several ways that the international development and humanitarian sectors can engage the private sector more effectively. First, that relationships and conversations should not start with culpability on the private sector, but instead, the development community should approach the idea of working with the private sector as an opportunity to spur a process of co-collaboration. Nathan pointed out that the private sector has strengths other than solely providing financing for programs; they continued on to explain that private organizations can even teach development organizations to change their processes for the better. As an example, the development community can learn from the private sector to identify problems that are encountered as opportunities for growth as an organization. Nathan’s message is a powerful reminder to respect others and remain open to learning from unexpected sources or situations.

The other session we found powerful was on effective communication, led by Tim Pollard from Oratium. Our key takeaway from Pollard’s message was that shorter presentations with an emotional connection are more memorable than straightforward, linear presentations. The general premise was that we often approach presentations or pitches in a very factual, data-heavy format when people really want to know why a solution will fix their problems, so it is more effective to start a conversation by identifying the problem and explaining how the problem can be solved creatively by your organization. Pollard’s wisdom and guidance is applicable to more situations than development pitches and presentations, which we found especially meaningful despite the simplicity of the proposal.

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Overall, it was an honor to share space with all of those at SID-Washington this year. We enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces and catching up with so many leaders in the development community, as well as meeting new people who are positively impacting the world through responsible development assistance practices. To learn more about how GeoPoll can engage populations around the world for your organization, contact us today.