HKS Students Win Public Service Innovation Award

April 10, 2012
By Doug Gavel

A team of Harvard Kennedy School students that founded an international social development organization has won the 2012 Accenture Public Service Innovation Award at the Harvard Innovation Challenge. The Award is intended to encourage Harvard students to "apply their creative energy to solve pressing public sector challenges and to foster the next generation of government solutions and leaders."

Michael Belinsky MPP 2012, David Bullon MPA/ID 2012, Michael Eddy MPA/ID 2012, Avnish Gungadurdoss MPA/ID 2012, and Madalina Pruna MPA/ID 2012 were honored for their vision in creating Instiglio, an organization designed to help governments apply social impact bonds to developing countries. Social impact bonds are a relatively new concept that facilitates private investment for the provision of public services. This concept is being piloted in England and has received initial support in the U.S., but has not yet caught on in developing countries.

"We founded Instiglio with the mission of empowering societies to discover, adopt and scale innovative solutions to social problems," said Belinsky. "Our team united over an opportunity to improve drastically the delivery of social services in developing countries by adapting the social impact bond model to emerging markets. We are thrilled to combine our Kennedy school training and our development world experience (our team has collectively worked in over 20 countries) to durably improve social service delivery. "

Rey Faustino (MPP 2012) was awarded honorable mention for his education nonprofit, OneDegree.

"The team has a great idea in their Instiglio model," said project advisor Matt Andrews, associate professor. "They plan to adopt an approach to getting things done that focuses on solving problems people care about, in a contextually relevant way, where the goal is better functionality. This is exciting in the world of development, at the cutting edge of thought and practice."

The Instiglio team receives $10,000 in grant funding and incubation space in the Harvard innovation lab to further develop their idea. The Harvard i-Lab is a new and innovative initiative that fosters team-based and entrepreneurial activities and deepens interactions among Harvard students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and members of the Allston and Greater Boston community.

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picture of winning group

(From L to R): Michael Eddy MPA/ID 2012; Avnish Gungadurdoss MPA/ID 2012; David Bullon Patton MPA/ID 2012; Dwight Hutchins, Accenture Global Managing director; Michael Belinsky MPP 2012; David Wilson, Accenture managing director.

"We are thrilled to combine our Kennedy school training and our development world experience (our team has collectively worked in over 20 countries) to durably improve social service delivery," said Michael Belinsky MPP 2012.