Newsletter November 2022

Dear Members,

Dear Members,

As the days are getting shorter, many people reflect on the passing year and prepare to celebrate the welcoming of a new one. 

At the GIM, we are also reflecting on the past and welcoming the new. It is now two years since the GIM was founded in November 2020. This milestone meant time to rotate the Team of Board Members. During the extraordinary General Assembly held on 18 November, we expressed our gratitude to the outgoing Board Corinne Momal Vanian (Executive Director at the Kofi Annan Foundation), Sebastian Buckup (Head of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum and Head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Global Network),  and Pradeep Kakkattil (Co-Founder of the Health Innovation Exchange). 

Thomas Neufing (Chief of the Centre for Learning and Multilingualism at the United Nations Office at Geneva), Susanna Swann (Chief Human Resources Officer at Genève Aéroport), and Nan Buzard (Head of Innovation at International Committee of the Red Cross – ICRC) were appointed as our new Board Team. We’re looking forward to working closely with them over the next two years! You’ll find a short summary and a link to the Minutes of the extraordinary General Assembly further on in this Newsletter.

To hit the ground running, for this edition of the Newsletter we interviewed our new President of the Board, Thomas Neufing, and asked him the question  “What is the most innovative thing you’ve learned this month?” You’ll find his answer below. 

Furthermore, the GIM looks forward to seeing all Members on 14 December at the Fireside chat on the Future of Innovation with our new Board, and to raising a glass to an Innovative 2023! 

Learning from each other - with Thomas Neufing

Every newsletter, we will either interview one member or provide an opinion piece. This time we asked GIM Founding Member & freshly appointed President of the Board Thomas Neufing Chief at the Center for Learning and Multilingualism

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

Thomas: “When reflecting about the importance of psychological safety as a prerequisite for innovation in organizations, I asked myself: how can a leader promote psychological safety in concrete terms? Obviously, emotional intelligence and empathy are important competencies but how can leaders effectively create an atmosphere of trust and psychological safety in teams entrusted to them? I was truly inspired by witnessing a very accomplished, respected senior colleague when she recently disclosed her disability unknown to her staff in a large townhall meeting.  She described her struggles but also how she learned to overcome them and how to succeed.

The powerful message to her staff (more than 600) was that everyone can contribute and excel in a safe context as none of us is perfect. It was about inclusion and respecting diversity. It resonated with so many as we are so often “on guard” because we think we might deviate from the norm (whatever that is). Her “coming out” almost instantly made her staff feel safer since she trusted them enough to share something very personal. Suddenly it was possible for everyone to show vulnerability without fearing rejection or reprisal. What I learned was that vulnerability and leadership do not contradict each other.

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.

INSEAD Tech Talk X: Webinar on Artificial Intelligence as a Force for Good in International Organizations

How can Artificial Intelligence act as a force for good in international organizations? Indeed, not a trivial question that was addressed in the context of the INSEAD Tech Talk on November 2. With digital technologies increasingly permeating the world, INSEAD Tech Talk Series is an initiative by [email protected] to explore the application of digital technologies and their impact on management, business, and society.

In this occasion, GIM managing director Katherine Tatarinov and founding member Tina Ambos, together with Marija Novkovic (Giga Programme Manager at UNICEF) and Phanish Puranam (Professor of Strategy and Organizational Design at INSEAD), discussed the findings of recent research on the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) by international organizations to address the grand challenges.

The academic speakers presented a framework for understanding and classifying AI initiatives, including: predictive analytics, image and voice recognition, natural language processing, and workflow automation; concrete use cases by UN agencies were showcased as examples.

If we dig into its characteristics, use and functioning, scaling is a concept that emerges and that is key for the successful implementation of AI initiatives, essentially for two reasons. First, AI needs a critical amount of data to work. Second, grand challenges correspond to problems that are locally embedded (i.e., poverty) yet, simultaneously, need an international response since they are globally intertwined (i.e., poverty leads to migration) and involve multiple ecosystems. An initiative can deliver impact by scaling through different ecosystems (i.e., IOs, the private sector, and local entities close to the beneficiaries), with each actor playing a different role.

Marija provided a hands-on insights through the presentation of Giga, a joint initiative by UNICEF and ITC which aims to connect every school of the world to the internet by 2030. The initiative mainly uses AI for mapping, financing, and connecting purposes.

While the power of AI to address the most pressing issues of our time is undeniable, it is imperative to keep in mind that a fundamental change in mindset, capabilities, and business processes is required.

The recording of this event is available here or through the Member Content page of our website.

New Members

Please welcome our new members:

Kira Kruglikova
Director, Division of Conference Management at UNOG

Alexandre B. Hedjazi
Academic Deputy International Affairs at University of Geneva


Extraordinary General Assembly: Rotation of the Board

On 18 November, an extraordinary General Assembly took place in a virtual setting to vote in a new Board.

The Geneva Innovation Movement was incorporated in November 2020, which means that our fantastic founding Board Team, Corinne Momal Vanian (President), Sebastian Buckup (Secretary), and Pradeep Kakkattil (Treasurer) have provided their time and efforts to the GIM for two years already. As per our Articles of Association, this meant it was time for a rotation.

The General Assembly appointed a new Board Team, consisting of:

  • President: Thomas Neufing, Chief at the Center of Learning and Multilingualism at UNOG
  • Secretary: Susanna Swann, Chief Human Resources Officer at Geneva Airport
  • Treasurer: Nan Buzard, Head of Innovation at ICRC.

The Board has been appointed for a period of two years.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Corinne, Sebastian and Pradeep for being a great Founding Board, and to welcome Thomas, Susanna and Nan as our new Board Team!

The incoming Board is looking forward to continue to build the GIM. As a start, the Board invites every Member to bring in one new Member before the end of 2022. All members are welcome to bring their invitee to the Fireside Chat & Networking Event on 14 December.

The Minutes of the General Assembly can be found on the Member Content page.


Warmest congratulations to:

Doreen Bogdan for being elected to the first female Secreatry General of ITU

Thomas Neufing (Chief of the Centre for Learning and Multilingualism at the United Nations Office at Geneva), Susanna Swann (Chief Human Resources Officer at Genève Aéroport), and Nan Buzard (Head of Innovation at International Committee of the Red Cross – ICRC) for being elected as the new Board Team of the Geneva Innovation Movement. Let’s get ready for GIM 2.0!


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.


“Quantum Promises of the 21st Century”

Trends to watch in technology that will change our lives.

UNIGE and SIT invite the GIM Members to participate in the hybrid event:

30 November / 17:15 CET


Computers, smartphones, GPS: quantum physics has enabled many technological advances in the 20th century. The 21st century will see again spectacular progresses.

This second quantum revolution is at the heart of the event organized by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the Schaffausen Institute of Technology (SIT), which accompanies the signing of a joint partnership between the two institutions in the field of quantum communication and sensing.

Federal and state authorities as well as institutions, scientists and international entrepreneurs involved in this new era will take part of the discussions.