The IIC's distinct model leverages global talent and government resources in a new way. This model has three defining features:


IIC Project Associates work in teams to foster entrepreneurial collaboration

IIC teams work directly with the government, to ensure projects address official priorities

IIC projects create scalable solutions, in order to maximize impact




The IIC recruits top-performing graduates of leading host-country universities and US based institutions and organizes them into teams of up to 3-5 Project Associates. Project Associates train for 5 weeks in skills required to translate their academic and professional knowledge into on-the-ground contributions. The IIC embeds each team within a government, non-profit, or foundation office in India or Brazil to work on an innovative development project with a discrete, tractable scope for 1-3 year projects. The IIC provides on the ground managers and mentors to help teams of Project Associates achieve their projects’ goals.




IIC projects span areas including urban development, energy and the environment, health care, innovation and education. Projects leverage government resources and smart, creative minds to produce innovative solutions to big problems.

Each project has an ambitious mission, but a discrete scope. Teams works with the government to identify and solve specific problems, or with the government and its partners to scale existing solutions. Working with the government offers unparalleled opportunities for solutions to achieve large scales.




The IIC collaborates with highly talented, top bureaucrats to develop projects that address government priorities. IIC teams work very closely with the government, often in their offices and under the close guidance of government leaders. Teams also facilitate relationships between government offices and other stakeholders or implementing partners.




IIC teams work to ensure their interventions have lasting impact, whether they are implementing a pilot to test a scalable solution or demonstrating how to scale an existing, successful solution. Teams develop rigorous methodologies for evaluating impact, including defining metrics to assess their success by collecting and comparing baseline and end line data.




The IIC places its Project Associates on teams because working in a team enables PAs to generate more creative ideas, work together in more productive ways, and share techniques, expertise and best practices. IIC teams are diverse to allow PAs to specialize and collaborate. Moreover, PAs are able to exchange ideas across teams within their cohort. Teams are a great source of collaborative innovation for IIC projects.

2014-15 Project Fellow Brennan O'Rear reflects on the tangible impact of the IIC-CEL project