This week as we continue learning about the ins and outs of Innovation and T4D, I am pleased to share with you the blog post, “Innovation for development: what is really different?”
“One of the biggest challenges for innovation evangelists in development organizations is…to clearly articulate ‘what is different’ in the approaches they are advocating for as opposed to ‘business as usual.’”
The author is the Project Lead for UNDP’s Knowledge and Innovation team in Europe and Central Asia, and he explored what innovation means for development while visiting UNICEF Innovation Labs in Uganda and Burundi. Using UNICEF’s Innovation Principles as a framework, he highlights the impact of innovation and the differences with business as usual (BAU) practices. For more information on UNICEF’s Innovation Principles please see: http://unicefstories.org/principles/
Below are some brief takeaways for each principle. However, be sure to check out the link for more many more examples as well as the “money quotes” from UNICEF’s very own, Chris Fabian and Sharad Shapra.
1. User Centered and Equity Focused:
a. BAU: Projects are often designed by people spending the majority of their time in offices, many times far away from end users
b. What is different: Solutions are designed in the field, co-developed with end users.
2. Built on Experience:
a. BAU: Projects are talked about publicly only at the end, focusing on showcasing results
b. Innovation: Projects are talked about from the ideation stage, focusing on process to encourage inputs from the outside.
a. BAU: Solutions are often developed and/or maintained by international experts
b. Innovation: Local developers are involved in the development of solutions from the very beginning
4. Open and Inclusive:
a. BAU: Solutions are developed using proprietary technology
b. Innovation: Solutions are developed to be open sources so that they can be shared with others
a. BAU: Localised solutions designed to reach, say, 10% of a given population are often “good enough” to get started
b. Innovation: No solution is financed that is not designed to 100% scalable and replicable in other contexts.