Newsletter November 2021

On November 12th, we celebrated the first birthday of the Geneva Innovation Movement! We can say with certainty that we have accomplished quite a bit in this first year! To name some highlights:

  • We ran 3 Innovation Movement Training Cohorts, training a total of 55people from 20 countries
  • We (co-)organized 5 event, some in person and some virtual
  • We curated 9 applicable insights, all available on our website

We celebrated our birthday on November 16th with with a toast to many more innovative years to come. We’re excited to continue to Movement, together with you!

If you would like to elevate certain topics, either in the ecosystem or in your own organization, the GIM is well positioned to act as a platform for your work. So, if you have any suggestions for the newsletter, please contact Iris ([email protected]).

Learning from each other - with Elina Vittaniemi

Every month, we will either interview one member or provide an opinion piece. This month we asked GIM Founding Member Elina Viitamiemi, Director of ESCA Cancer Support:

“What is the most innovative thing you’ve learned this month?”

Elina: “As I have delved into the world of cancer support and care formy new role, I have realised that sometimes the best innovations come from building on existing technology. Innovations that stand the test of time combine familiar technology with elegantly simple solutions.

Starting from offline innovations, this year ESCA Cancer Support released an updated version of their Oncolexic, an English-French phrasebook specifically designed to help people with cancer understand the jargon and communicate better with francophone medical professionals.

Having patients fully engaged in their treatment decisions has been proven to lead to better outcomes so being able to ask questions is critical. This simple but innovative tool has proved critical for oncology nurses in our region who mainly speak French to explain treatments and procedures in plain English. It has also given non-francophone cancer patients the confidence to ask important questions about their treatment and understand the new cancer terminology that can be complex in any language.

On the digital technology side, the cancer community is also building on smartphone technology to empower patients to be informed andactive in decision-making for their cancer journey.

As an example, Breast Cancer Network Australia has developed a smartphone app, My Journey, tailored to patients undergoing breast cancer treatment. Originally developed as a tool to provide tailored information based on certain question paths and algorithms, it has now been enhanced to allow patients to track their symptoms and easily share this with their health professionals.

Finally, I was inspired to see how researchers have been able to build on the capacity and AI of wearable fitness trackers to monitor the status and effects of cancer therapy. Monitoring patient activity levels has been successfully used to adjust treatment intensity to each individual’s situation, with improved quality of life and reduced side effects.

I’m looking forward to discovering many more examples of innovations in cancer support that could be applied here in Switzerland as well as across the world.”

More information on the initiatives mentioned by Elina is available on the Member Content page of our website. You’re invited to keep the conversation going on the forum!

Upcoming Events

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

New Members

Please welcome our new members:

Vera Nunez Martinez
Records Projects Coordinator at ITU

Arsen Khanyan
Program Officer, Policy and External Relations at GICHD

Olivier Dunant
Partner at Eversheds Sutherland

Nigel Gan
Learning and Development Specialist at UNAIDS

Manoela Manova
Country Director Jamaica at UNAIDS

César Antonio Núñez
Director, NY Liaison Office at UNAIDS

Yafflo Ouattara
Country Director, Chad at UNAIDS

James Guwani
Director, Caribbean Sub-Regional Office Jamaica atUNAIDS

Ali Feizzadeh
Senior Strategic Information Adviser Praetoria(South Africa) at UNAIDS

Rosemary Museminali Kobusingye
Director at UNAIDS

Medhin Tsehaiu
Country Director Kenya at UNAIDS

Muhammad Saleem
Regional Programme Advisor South Africa at UNAIDS.

Marta Bazima
Community Support Adviser Mozambique at UNAIDS

Mikhail Pouchkin
Deputy DWT/CODirector at ILO

Oktavianto Pasaribu
Chief, Regional Programming Services at ILO

Frida Khan
Sr Spec, Gender Equality and Coordinator of Jordan DWCP at ILO

Chang-Hee Lee
Director country office at ILO

Simrin Singh
Director country office at ILO

Hopolang Phororo
Director country office at ILO

Alexio Musindo
Director country office at ILO

Nkosana Mtetwa
Lead renewable energy and climate-smart agriculture components at ITC

Jillo Boru Halkano
National Coordinator for the Refugee Employment

Christophe Larouer
Senior Speechwriter and Brand Communication Officer at ITU

Philippa Biggs
Coordinator, Broadband Commission for Digital Development at ITU

Ursula Wynhoven
Representative to UN at ITU

Katy Barnett
Senior Advisor, Partnerships at UNHCR

Sumbul Rizvi
Principal Advisor on Internal Displacement at UNHCR

Kate Viriyamettakul
Transition Management Officer at UN Geneva

Innovation Movement Training Fall 2021

The 4th Innovation Movement Training took place from 5 to 28 October. This was our most globally diverse Innovation Movement Training to date, with participants from 16 countries, representing 6UN agencies (ILO, ITU, ITC, UNHCR, UNAIDS, UN Geneva and UNHCR), and with 50% women.

Fully based on our proprietary research frameworks, the training also had participants apply Human Centered Design to answer “how might we ensure that teammembers feel (and are) heard?

” Each cross-organisational, cross-functional project group ideated and prototyped a solution that waspresented in the final session. This four-week training is aimed atmanagers leading teams in International Organizations and looks tocreate a mindset shift for fostering further innovation.

All participants have received a one-year membership to the GIM aspart of their training – Welcome to our new members!

Innovating Together

On November 2, 2021, the Geneva Innovation Movement and Club Diplomatique de Genève together organized “Innovating Together for a Resilient International Geneva”, an in-person event that took place at the Hotel InterContinental in Geneva. The event was structured as an interactive discussion, moderated by Prof. Dr. Tina Ambos, with a panel of experts from within the International Geneva ecosystem:

  • Corinne Momal-Vanian, Director of the Kofi Annan Foundation and President of the GIM
  • Dr. Daniela Wuerz, Senior Coordination Officer for Covid-19 at UNOG
  • Alex Wong, Chief of Special Initiatives at TelecommunicationDevelopment Sector at ITU

The key outcomes were actionable insights on how to build on the collaboration already happening in the Geneva ecosystem. Diving into the nuances of the challenges and best practices of the organizations represented by the panelists, different cross-cutting themes emerged, including: organizational structure and culture, resources, partnerships, and collaboration.

Organizations that are structured in silos are more likely to have high resistance to innovation, and the need to promote flat hierarchies becomes thus imperative. Resources such as time and space are key to enhance staff’s creativity to develop and try out new ideas. UNGeneva’s Agile Teams experiment is a strong example of this push asis the emergent partnership between CERN and WHO around the risk assessment of airborne pathogens – a partnership enables by UN Geneva.

Such new ideas are often co-designed both with colleagues from different departments of the organization as well as with external partners. Partnerships with other international organizations (such as the Unicef-ITU collaboration on Project Giga), with local governments, and with end users have proven to be a key element of success of many initiatives. Organizations can seek to establish amore innovative culture by engaging the senior management to obtain the required buy-in for the desired change in mindset.

International Geneva has already shown to be incredibly innovative and has become a unique incubator. “One of its main strengths lies into diversity, and through diversity comes new ideas. This shows why, despite all the rest, International Geneva continues to innovate”, concluded Corinne Momal-Vanian. By relying on cross-sectoral and cross-organizational collaboration, we can boost innovation in the ecosystem to create a better and more resilient future.

Let’s continue the conversation on November 30th, when the GIM co-hosts the Health Innovation Exchange event “New horizon for investments in innovations for global health and resilient health systems”, for which all members have received an invitation.


Warmest congratulations to:

Elina Viitaniemi for taking up anew role as Director at ESCA Cancer Support

Katherine Tatarinov for winning the Prix William Rappart for the best thesis on the topic of sustainability

The Geneva Innovation Movement Association
for celebrating its one yearanniversary


Do you know any relevant articles, blogs, or opinions that you wish to highlight?

Please contact Iris, so we can publish them through our website and Social Media channels.