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Tell the World Bank what to do

Got some strong feelings about who should succeed Paul Wolfowitz as the head of the World Bank? If you’d like your feelings to be heard – and possibly to influence the decision – you should check in with my friends at the Center for Global Development. The first major policy body to call for Wolfowitz’s resignation, CGD is widely respected for their careful analysis of international development policy, including their annual index of aid effectiveness.

Between now and Thursday, CGD is running a survey, asking respondents to list what traits they think are most important for a World Bank chief and ranking a set of possible candidates on those traits. The survey is open to the general public, but it’s been sent to senior development policy officials around the world and is likely to represent the views of many development policymakers. At the very least, the survey’s worth taking if only to see the ten candidates CGD considers most likely and to read their biographies.

While CGD is canvassing the world to make suggestions to the Bank, the Bank is running it’s Development Marketplace contest, an annual event that invites social innovators from around the world to the Bank to present their ideas for development. The idea began several years ago as the brainchild of my friends Dennis Whittle and Mari Kureshi, who wanted to make sure the Bank captured the wisdom of all its employees, from Vice Presidents to the security and cleaning staff. They invited anyone on the team to present ideas for international development projects and required that the projects involve teams that don’t usually work together. In subsequent years, they opened the process to include beneficiaries in target nations, not just Bank staffers.

Excited to take the idea further, Dennis and Mari now run Global Giving, a project that encourages individuals to donate directly to promising development projects. But Development Marketplace is going strong, inviting participants around the world to come to DC and pitch their project to the folks with the money. Perhaps someone should ensure that the innovators pitching their ideas at Development Marketplace take the CGD survey as well…