From idea, to innovation, to scale: the DCHI academy

We recently welcomed our coalition to the first DCHI academy webinar, where we explored how to get from idea to innovation to scale. Thanks to our inspiring speakers, we gained insights on how to approach scaling innovative projects.

The session started with the authors of the Harvard Business Review publication sharing their knowledge and expertise on how they inserted a new model for crowd sourcing innovation. In researching various crowd sourcing innovations, including the ICRC, Johanna Brunneder and Tarun Sarwal found that there was a need to invent a new kind of innovation initiative. Their presentation gave our listeners a very educational insight into innovation more generally, including great transparency on the challenges they faced, and how their advice on overcoming them.

For the second part of the session, the focus turned to how to scale an existing project, thanks to the presentation done by colleagues from the project Team-Up. TeamUp is a movement based intervention to support the social and emotional needs of refugee children in the Netherlands, and around the world. Developed by Save the Children, UNICEF and War Child in the Netherlands, the intervention is now ready to go to scale and reach global impact. DCHI’s Innovation Manager Stephanie van Drunen Littel and Frank Velthuizen explored the steps TeamUp has taken to develop a scaling strategy, in order to reach 1 million children by 2025. These were the top scaling tips shared during their presentation:

  1. Have a big ambition and aim for small milestones: It’s really important to have a clear vision of your grand mission, to give your team something to work towards. However it’s equally important to have your small milestones along the way, to engage stakeholders and have a reason to celebrate successes along the way.
  2. Ensure you have a buy-in: Although this seems like a no-brainer, it’s very important to have a aligned vision and a team of believers. Creating a transparent environment about the uncertainties of aspects relating to the project, will help in maintaining the buy in for the grand mission at large. This could be achieved by checking in with your stakeholder regularly and having open discussions about their concerns.
  3. Define operating & Implementation Model: Although this is tricky, it’s very important! Often with innovation, it can be hard to identify exactly what it is that you want to scale within your project. Having a clear definition of the specific aspect you would like to scale can set up a clear journey of the steps that need to be taken to fully scale the project.
  4. Create a Learning organisation: Transparency with innovation is key! There are many aspects that will remain unknown, so it’s very important that your team remains clear on the assumptions being taken, and what you have learnt along the way. This will help your stakeholders readily engage, but also your adaptability along the way if you realize something needs to be changed.
  5. Tell the Story: Often with scaling in humanitarian work, this part is forgotten. But share your milestones, challenges and journey! People can learn from the journey, and will ultimately help achieve greater impact!

Many thanks to all our fantastic speakers for the inspiring presentations and our listeners for joining; we look forward to welcoming you to our future events! In the mean time, our speakers shared some inspiration on innovation and scaling for you to enjoy!

A New Model for Crowdsourcing Innovation

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