Newsletter May 2022

Dear Members,

It’s been a busy start of the year for the Geneva Innovation Movement! We published our first Annual Report, and curated no less than three Applicable Insights, on the topics of Artificial Intelligence, Innovation for Impact and the relational Works of Systems. All these Insights as well as the Annual Report are available on our Insights page.

We hosted three free publicly accessible events in March and April: on Experimental Innovation, on Innovation at International NGOs and on Agile work methods. You’ll find short summaries of these events in this Newsletter.

Regarding capacity building and ecosystem learning, we ran the Spring edition of the Innovation Movement Training, which took place over eight sessions in the month of March and included participants from UNHCR, UNOG, ILO, ITU, and the WEF. In addition, we began a webinar speakers series on Innovation in International Organizations exclusively for WTO.

Happy readings!

Agile in Action!

On Thursday 7 April, the GIM co-hosted the event “Agile in Action: Practical Ways to Create Agile Teams & Organizations” at the UN Library, in collaboration with UN Geneva, the Center for Innovation & Partnerships, and Roche Holding AG. The event explored various agile work methods and how they can be, or already have been, implemented in large (bureaucratic) organizations. Agile teams work together across functions and outside the strict boundaries of job descriptions. Inside a cross-functional project team, work is role-based, and employees apply talents also outside the direct job description. Everyone can have an impact on the decision-making processes if the work setting is a safe one where people are free to contribute and express their opinion regardless of role or position.

The key findings of the Modern Agile Tools pilot showed a desire of staff members to have the opportunity for training and be empowered to use new ways of working. They also highlighted the adaptability of such techniques across different functions and regions, and the key role for leadership in facilitating and supporting its scale to foster the creative environment required for innovation from the inside. However, to successfully scale Modern Agile Tools, both leadership and staff need to commit to a change in culture. Adopting agile methods is a transformative process, which breaks boundaries and structures, but may also create uncertainty or unclarity.

Our world is changing at an ever-increasing pace. We believe that creating an agile methodology and mindset will help [the UN] to keep pace with that change” – Daniela Wuerz, change manager at UN Geneva and panelist.

Building on this pilot, the GIM, in collaboration with Roche and UN Geneva, offers a Briefing on Implementing Modern Agile Concepts for UN teams looking to roll out and scale similar pilots. Please contact us for more information if your team is interested.

Applicable Insights - published in 2022

These Insights are also available form our Insights page

WTO Speaker Series on Innovation and Creativity

Exclusively for WTO, the GIM facilitates a four-part speaker series on innovation and creativity in International Organizations. The first webinar was held in March and focused on the topic of bottom-up innovation at the WTO and how to foster innovation in large bureaucratic organizations. The other three webinars will be held throughout the rest of the year and will focus on structuring innovation and incentives, measuring the impact of innovation activities, and breaking through the bureaucratic processes: what it takes to lead change.

Interested to know more about an exclusive Speaker Series for your Team or Organization?

Just contact us!

Upcoming Events

The Geneva Innovation Movement is (co-)organizing a number of events over the coming months. See the Events page for more detail.

Innovation Movement Training – Spring ‘22

The Spring ’22 edition of the Innovation Movement Training brought together a cross-functional, cross-organizational and multinational group of Team Leaders to learn about innovation methods and how to implement them. We touched upon a broad variety of topics, including Wellbeing for Innovators, Humanocracy, Human Centered Design and Futures & Foresights. The theory and research findings presented by academia were illustrated by various speakers, all were experts in their fields. The practical implementation was ensured by various assignments and a group project. We had a fantastic Cohort and are excited to welcome all participants as new members of the GIM!

New Members

Please welcome our new members:

Diana Tomimura
Head, Strategy, Spectrum Policy and Digitalization Division at ITU 

Kofi Dwomo
Head of Sub Office in Sudan at ILO

Lindsay Michiels
Manager, Funder Engagement and Mobilization at World Economic Forum

Marat Atamuradov
Assistant Representative (Programme) in Syria at UNHCR

Martin Hahn
Director, Country Office for Brasil at ILO

Michiko Miyamoto
Director, Country Office for Asia at ILO

Natalie Alexander
Coordinator, Knowledge & Learning Commons; Editor, Next Page podcast at UN Geneva

Numan Özcan
Office Director for Europe at ILO

Peter van Rooij
Deputy Regional Director for Africa at ILO

Rania Bikhazi
Director Country Office for Africa at ILO

Shadab Mansoori
Head of Field Office in Syria at UNHCR

Tareq Abuqaoud
Programme Manager for Arab States at ILO

Viviane Brunne
Programme Manager, Division of Conference Management at UN Geneva

Mapping the Humanitarian Transformation: Spotlight on Innovation in International NGOs

On April 5, 2022, in collaboration with the Research Center for Innovation & Partnerships of the University of Geneva, and Swissnex in San Francisco, we organized the event “Mapping the Humanitarian Transformation: Spotlight on Innovation in International NGOs”. It moderated by Thomas Straub, professor of International Management at the University of Geneva, included a panel of cross-sector innovation champions: Nan Buzard, Head of Innovation at ICRC, Barbara Hintermann, Director General at Terre des hommes, Tasha Rumley, Humanitarian Programme Manager at Chaîne de Bonheur, and Maximilian Martin, Global Head of Philanthropy at Lombard Odier. They addressed critical issues such as sparking and adopting innovation, overcoming organizational bottlenecks and how to foster more cross-sector collaboration around innovation. Furthermore, Jorge Minguell from Salesforce and Pawel Krzysiek from Meta/FB, tech experts with a humanitarian background, highlighted the willingness and readiness of the tech sector in engaging with INGOs but also a need to align goals and values.

We can share information and build personal relationship of trust, and then do things that we couldn’t do otherwise. I think this is part of the solution”, concluded Maximilian Martin.

Want to know more? You can access the recording of this event from the Member Content page on our website!


Experimental Innovation

On March 15th, GIM, Propel Labs, Impact Hub, Health Innovation Exchange, the Center for Innovation & Partnerships hosted the virtual event “Breaking the Mold: Lessons from Innovative Experiments in the Global South”. Vijay Raju and Dheeraj Batra from the Propel Labs introduced us to the concept of experimental innovation and explained the importance of moving fast when adapting to changing situations. To ensure that one is going in the right direction, one needs to repeat the process of ideation, prototyping and testing potential solutions. Accepting that some of your ideas will fail is part of the experimentation game!

The practical side of this theory was illustrated by real life examples presented by Ken Staley, Vice President at Optum Health & former coordinator of the US Government’s activities to combat malaria at USAID, and Rubana Huq, Managing Director at Mohammadi Group & past President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

The participants were asked to actively contribute to the event by gathering in small discussion groups to ideate on the topic of tackling misinformation during times of crisis and share their initial ideas with the larger audience in during a group discussion moderated by UNIGE’s Prof. Tina Ambos.

Keep on innovating!

Did you miss this event? The recording is available from the Member Content page!


Warmest congratulations to:

Pradeep Kakkattil for winning the Public Social Intrapreneur of the Year award!


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