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Experimenting to Develop Scalable Ideas


A unique feature of the KCP is its emphasis on experimentation and scalable activities. The KCP aims at providing ahead-of-the curve knowledge and analysis to anticipate future development challenges. Sometimes this means supporting projects that explore innovative ideas, including those that may be a bit avant-garde. 

Through a series of KCP-funded research and impact evaluation programs, DEC researchers were able to demonstrate that management practices and business skills matter tremendously for productivity and firm growth. KCP supported research and a field experiment in India that showed increased average productivity through management enhancement, such as improved quality and efficiency and reduced inventory. Following the same logic, KCP research studied the link between good business practices and firm productivity among micro and small firms in Bangladesh, Chile, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka, which revealed robust results on the positive impact of better business practices. In Nigeria, DEC ran a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on ways to identify and spur high-growth entrepreneurship and learned about the effects of well-designed business plans on firm survival, profitability, and employment. In Togo, DEC researchers worked with operational colleagues and psychologists to develop personal initiative training, which focuses on developing a psychology-based entrepreneurial mindset. The RCT showed that entrepreneurs who took the personal initiative training saw their profits rise by an average of 30 percent relative to the control group, and the training had even greater impact for women entrepreneurs. The encouraging results from the training in Togo inspired the scale-up of similar endeavors in Mozambique, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Currently, the team is investigating how to continue reaping the benefits of this proven intervention at scale, and partner financing would be crucial to help bring this type of intervention, and many others, to more corners of the world.