Obama's three most interesting ideas for global development

Obama's three most interesting ideas for global development

The White House is making a splash with the announcement of a slate of new, innovative projects to reduce global poverty. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sdho/558951670/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Seansie (flickr)</a>
The White House is making a splash with the announcement of a slate of new, innovative projects to reduce global poverty. Photo: Seansie (flickr)

Politics, schmolitics—the Obama administration's new list of antipoverty projects has our hearts aflutter.

Global Envision’s three favorites all help entrepreneurs help themselves with innovative science and tech:

Red tape cutter: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office conjures images of bureaucratic red-tape and stacks of paperwork no more: its new “Patents for Humanity” competition entices would-be innovators to develop poverty-fighting technology by easing the process of getting an intellectual property license. With an average processing time of 22 months, the top 50 innovators will have a golden ticket in their hands.

Pest tracker: The solution to a maize pest in Kenya might be just right for a farmer in neighboring Uganda, but how would these farmers ever know? The U.S. Department of Agriculture is partnering with a science-based agricultural nonprofit called Plantwise to create a global knowledge bank about crop diseases and pests. As Plantwise’s team of local “plant doctors” assess problems at “plant clinics,” they’ll use their mobile phone to plant that information in the master database. Those seeds will grow.

App finder: Speaking of apps, HP, Cisco, Accenture and ESRI have joined USAID to create a marketplace of tech ideas and applications from public and private sources. The new “app store” for development-oriented software will help scale and replicate the best ideas that might otherwise get looked over. We're just waiting for these to hit the Apple store.

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