Innovate for Impact

If you haven’t had good conversations, with your eyes open, with at least twenty-five people before you start designing, don’t bother.

iDE’s founder, Paul Polak, practiced and preached the importance of starting with people. With your support, local iDE teams use Human Centered Design to engage deeply with the people and communities we serve.


35M people

It was an “aha moment”

that turned around a struggling program and started generating new opportunities for smallholder farmers.

Drip irrigation is an amazing technology that delivers just the right amount of water to each plant in a field. But farmers in rural Cambodia weren’t buying it.

Insights from farmers led the iDE team to bundle the technology with a package of training, inputs and connections to buyers. This ensured that farmers could sell their produce for good prices.

Returning a few years later, iDE’s Innovation Director Nadia Campos says, “I was amazed how much their life had improved.”

I was amazed how much their life had improved… all because they were using the prosperity package from iDE Cambodia

Women smiling next to two kids on a sunny farm field.

The Paul Polak Innovation Fund

In 2021, we launched IGNITE: The Paul Polak Innovation Fund. Inspired by our founder’s legacy, this fund has a mission: to unlock new opportunities for scale and impact.

Like the prosperity packages in Cambodia, innovations such as treadle pumps (over 2.5 million sold worldwide), farm business advisors and sanitation marketing have enabled over 35 million people to prosper on their own terms. You can help us to develop and test new ideas with the potential to create real and lasting change.

  • Fail Fast projects (up to $20k) support rapid prototyping and testing of new ideas
  • Spark projects (up to $130k) more rigorously market test promising ideas

Our goal this year is to raise $500k to support innovation that makes an impact across iDE.

We are looking for the sweet spot – solutions that are: 

  • desirable – (what do people really want?)
  • feasible – (does it work?)
  • viable – (will it make money/sustain itself?)

By following these principles, we are committed to ensuring that your support goes directly to designing solutions that really work, and scaling up successful solutions to make the biggest impact for the most people.

Help power entrepreneurs to innovate for impact with your donation

Other Initiatives by iDE

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