“Why don’t NGOs have R&D departments?”
Unfortunately the answer is because we decided to compete on administration or overhead costs, not impact. We have conditioned the general public and donors to this framing – admin and overheads are bad, money to projects is good. This has lead to creative accounting and creative writing for if we can write a good report, the money keeps flowing. In fact, most organisations immensely struggle with defining and measuring meaningful impact because our systems, processes, etc. are simply not designed for it.
R&D is considered an overhead cost, thus not generally done. Or if it is done, it needs to be ‘hidden’ in different ways.
The incentives are wrongly aligned.