Although many aspects of innovation, including the ability to creatively problem solve and adapt to changing context, have long underpinned the work of NGOs, it is only recently emerging as a new and distinct area of practice. Many larger INGOs now have innovation teams, or social innovation departments. But alongside this, there is also plenty of scepticism and confusion about what is really means in practice.
- How can large INGOs embrace innovation in practice, not just in name?
- How to make sure there is plenty of fast learning, and adaptation, especially across big organisations.
- How to rethink power structures and ‘recentre’ the conversation so we are learning from people who know best how to organise their own lives.
- How to make sure innovations teams embed learning/insights across organisations and they don’t work in silos or act as islands?
Our work in this field beegun in 2015. SIX and Hivos have partnered for 2 years to discover and understand innovation processes with social impact. By organising gatherings in Johannesburg, Harare, and Nairobi, we connected social innovators and international development communities to share insights and reflections. We started to build up a pioneering network of practitioners across Africa linked to the global field of social innovation.
Following this, we did work for Bond. the UK’s membership body for international development, and Oxfam to demystify what social innovation looks like within NGOs to help build greater common understanding of social innovation across the sector and inspire more impactful innovation efforts.
As more INGOs establish innovation teams, these key questions become even more important and we are open to partnering with organisations to help them understand how to address these questions in practice.
An introduction to social innovation for NGOs
Although many aspects of innovation, including the ability to creatively problem solve and adapt to changing context, have long underpinned the work of NGOs, it is currently emerging as a new and distinct area of practice. At present, there is both scepticism towards, and enthusiasm for, innovation in the sector – as well as a ... An introduction to social innovation for NGOs
How to be more innovative in your practice: 6 reflections from SIX and Hivos
Across the world, development and social challenges are increasingly more complex and urgent. From INGOs to community organisations to governments, finding new ways of working to meet these challenges is more of a priority than ever. The organisations that are best placed to deliver the biggest impact are those that are highly connected, that are agile ... How to be more innovative in your practice: 6 reflections from SIX and Hivos