Albania joins UNICEF Innovation in Stockholm to promote innovation as a key driver for change
Creating the right environment to develop a creative mindset.
On 23-25 January 2023, UNICEF Albania´s innovation officer conducted a 3-day visit to the recently established Office of Innovation in Stockholm, Sweden.
During the week, the innovation officer had meetings with innovation managers responsible for UNICEF in breaking new ground in areas such as AI and blockchain and finding new ways of working with areas such as Mental Health and Climate.
Andreas also sat down with Director Thomas Davin to have a chat on how innovation can be conducted on a country office level and Thomas was particularly clear on one thing:
"Innovation is a discipline, not an avocation. With our network of over 190 countries identifying groundbreaking solutions that work in their contexts, the trajectory of scale is immense and the impact for children is truly game-changing,”.
Innovation includes everything from climate change to gender equality to mental health, the goal is to move the needle at the intersection of issue and innovation and to create a meaningful, sustainable impact. By considering it a discipline, innovation can be mainstreamed into every program in order to foster new ideas and new ways of working.
At UNICEF, innovation takes many forms. From tech innovation that benefits equitably, including powerful tools like artificial intelligence and blockchains. But just as important are the many frugal innovations, i.e., solutions where UNICEF can learn from other country offices or/and use developed prototypes from other programs, which can easily be adopted, adapted, and scaled up.
James Powell, Chief of the Portfolio, Culture, and Scale Unit explained further, “When country offices discover solutions showing promise of impact, OOI helps with the testing and scale. Our teams are also interested in failed attempts. These are valuable opportunities to iterate and co-create,”.
A special thanks shall be extended to Innovation Specialist Tamara Zakharia who leads capacity building and finished the visit by expressing an invitation to all UNICEF innovators to keep pushing boundaries and challenging each other’s thinking.
For the country office innovation officer, it has been a great experience getting the opportunity to visit, take part in design sprints, and discuss with colleagues. It has resulted in more energy, ideas, and inspiration when return to the country office to resume the work of integrating innovation more into our daily work.