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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2018 Evaluation Office: Evaluation of Innovation in UNICEF Work - Synthesis Report

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS)". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. The quality rating scale for evaluation reports is as follows: “Highly Satisfactory”, “Satisfactory”, “Fair” or “Unsatisfactory”. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 3’.


The world is changing faster than ever before, and so too are the challenges facing its most vulnerable. Conflict and displacement, disasters and climate change, urbanization and disease outbreaks are growing increasingly complex and inter-related, demanding new strategies and approaches. Innovation for development – exploring new ways of delivering programmes, with new partners and new technologies – is increasingly recognized as crucial to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
UNICEF has made innovation a corporate priority. Yet the extent to which this investment has translated into meaningful and sustainable outcomes for children has not been systematically analysed. Neither has the organization undergone an assessment to determine the extent to which it is optimally positioned (‘fit for purpose’) to implement innovation as a strategy. As UNICEF moves into the second year of its current Strategic Plan (SP), addressing these knowledge gaps has acquired renewed urgency, and is the subject of the present evaluation.


The overall purpose of the evaluation is to generate important information for organizational learning and accountability. The evaluation objective was to assess UNICEF’s ‘fitness for purpose’ to employ innovation as a key strategy to achieve the outcomes and goals defined in its strategic plans for the period 2014-2021. It also sought to provide insights on how innovation contributes to UNICEF’s goals and objectives, as well as how innovation might contribute to increasingly effective organizational responses in the coming years. Accordingly, the evaluation examines innovation in both a retrospective and formative manner.


This section describes the methods used in the three component elements of the evaluation: the OA, the innovation case studies and the synthesis. Overall, the evaluation utilized a mixed methods approach with a summative emphasis (2014-2017). The timing allows for a complete review of the earlier strategy period (2014-2017) as well as capturing events that unfolded as the new strategy cycle (2018-2021) and its associated planning documents (e.g. office management plans) were being launched.  The evaluation methodologies are primarily qualitative and based on key informant interviews.


Recommendation area 1: Develop a shared strategic vision and approach that directly addresses fundamental constraints in the current approach and drives decision-making across the organization.

Recommendation area 2: Act on needed structural change to advance innovation as a means of achieving results for children.

Recommendation area 3: Utilize a portfolio management approach for innovation.

Read the blog on Evaluating Innovation at UNICEF.

Read on the infogram tool on Evaluating Innovation at UNICEF.

Please see here the Evaluating Innovation survey infogram.

Please watch our vlog on Evaluating Innovation at UNICEF: What did we find?

We hope the set of twelve (12) case studies interests you.

Please find the following attached further below:

  • Evaluation Synthesis Report - Report
  • GEROS Evaluation Review - Part 2
  • GEROS Feedback Summary - Part 3
  • Executive Summary to the Board - Part 4
  • Evaluation Management Response (EMR) - Part 5
  • Annexes - Part 6

Full report in PDF

PDF files require Acrobat Reader.



Report information



Evaluation Office


Program Excellence (Cross-cutting)


Sequence #:
Evaluation Office/65//6697

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