Live notes from “Principles of innovation in action”

Here is the link, page 105-115: https://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/innovation_in_international_development_v7.pdf

What does UNICEF mean when it says innovations and specifically what does the head of their Innovation Unit, Chris Fabian, mean by the word innovation, in context of UNICEF? Well it, among many others I am sure, means these three things:

  1. Planning Agile. How can UNICEF be agile in its planning process and work iteratively.
  2. Measuring Progress. How well is the staff working, how quickly is it able to gather real-time data etc.
  3. Reusing Solutions. Are the solutions that helped in one situation or region being applied to other situations and regions.
  4. Being Proactive. Observe and anticipate trends

Chris mentioned another thing about the problem of associating innovation just with using latest tech.

new gadgets and new gimmicks might make headlines but don’t necessarily change the world

*break*

Ok, so we are talking about principles of innovation, specifically the one about open source. It is interesting how important and how non-obvious (to me at least) it is. How does it matter if something is open-source or not? Well it matters because the ability to customize a particular relief product, software or hardware, according to the needs of a particular context, can be the difference between life and death in contexts where UNICEF works. For example if you made a super cheap but super effective water purifier, you can sell that purifier to whoever you want and earn money. But at the same time you have to open source your technology so that your purifier can be recreated or repaired in emergency situations where they can’t wait for your shipments to arrive or your support team to respond.

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