[SE17-CCI] Measuring Development Outcomes: A New Path in Development Engineering

DAY 2 – Tuesday 3 May – 14:00-15:30
Swiss Tech | Room 1C | Level Garden

Session Leader | Summary | Panelists and Abstracts


Session Leader

Temina Madon
University of California Berkeley, United States

Temina Madon directs the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), a research network headquartered at the University of California, Berkeley. CEGA creates innovative products, services, and technologies for economic development. Temina has advised the WHO, World Bank, and Gates Foundation. Previously, she held positions in science policy at the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Congress, where she served as AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellow. She has a PhD in health sciences from UC Berkeley and an SB in engineering from MIT.



Development engineering (Dev Eng) applies principles from engineering, economics, and the social sciences to solve challenges arising from global poverty. A core focus of the Dev Eng research community is to improve the measurement of development indicators. How can we cost-effectively capture inputs from low-income, remote, and excluded communities? How can real-time, high-frequency, more reliable information be integrated into social policy and program design? How can we track progress toward poverty reduction—especially in light of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

New technologies—from satellites and mobile data streams, to sensors and administrative “big data”—are revealing the demands, preferences, and realities of people living in poverty. This rich information can inform the design of new products, services, and interventions that target poverty alleviation. It also facilitates the evaluation of new anti-poverty strategies and learning about what works. However, mainstreaming these innovations within the social sector has proven slow, given budget constraints, missing technical expertise, and lack of incentives to improve efficiency.

This session invites researchers and private sector product developers to showcase new measurement technologies and strategies that have been adapted for use in developing country contexts. Presentations will highlight how these innovations affect development practice in the field—in terms of resource allocation, program decision-making, and evaluation. We will also examine issues related to privacy and safety, particularly in fragile or conflict-affected areas.


Spigel Lauren, VaxTrac, United States, Monitoring and Evaluating Development Impacts: Case Examples from Implementing a Mobile Vaccination Registry System in Different Contexts


Chander Kumar Singh, TERI University, India, Information Driven Socio-Behavioral Change to Mitigate Arsenic Crisis


Joeri Smits, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, Household Income and Financial Distress as Development Outcomes: an Experiment with Financial Diaries


Jay Taneja, IBM Research – Africa, Kenya, Filling Spatial and Temporal Gaps in Development Surveys Using Night Lights