Tourism Destinations 3.0 base one of their main competitive advantages in the power of leveraging the stakeholders’ collective intelligence through open innovation, taking advantage of the stakeholders’ motivation for contribution to the destination’s mission, to address some of the community’s social and environmental challenges. This example illustrates how other international bodies tackling global challenges try to leverage the motivation for contribution to the greater good through open innovation.

UNICEF is hoping to do more to help the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people thanks to a new open innovation initiative. The United Nation program for children recently launched CauseTech looking for unique alternative solutions to propel their work forward. This dedicated global community site will enable participants to share ideas, vote and discuss refinements. 

CauseTech aims to aggregate the world’s best and brightest innovators, technologists, IT professionals, product developers, researchers, entrepreneurs, academics and post-graduate students in a global open innovation ecosystem. The new portal is part of a new private sector initiative to crowdsource breakthrough ideas, inventions, products, and emerging technologies that can advance the work done by the UNICEF Global Innovation Center worldwide. The CauseTech website features novel technologies and solutions that serve as inspirations for the community moving through the ideation process. These technologies are also profiled for crowdsourced discussion through the ideation platform.

The aim is tap collective thinking and input to identify, adapt and deploy inventive technology solutions that can help UNICEF scale its efforts to meet the ever-growing needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and excluded children across 190 countries. This includes health, drinking water, renewable energy, food security, hygiene, education, communication, and self-sufficiency.

CauseTech.Net will register and profile contributors and run crowdsourcing contests and challenges developed by UNICEF offices. Once registered, community members can submit ideas and technologies to solve a need and/or take part in one of the global challenges.  UNICEF also wants this new platform to engage with mentors, other innovators, and potential partners and collaborators in order to improve upon potential new successful ideas, therefore becoming the connector between all the relevant actors in the value chain to ensure innovative solutions can be successfully implemented and scaled across regions and contexts. 

While the platform will enable ongoing open ideation around challenges, it will also run timed contests curated by UNICEF Innovation teams. The first official contest was launched last June through UNICEF’s Burundi Innovation Lab. This challenge focus on alternative energy solutions for this country, where only three percent of the population is connected to the electricity grid. The aim is to accelerate product development and market expansion while building local entrepreneurship and testing a new hybrid public-private partnership. 

UNICEF has already experienced the positive benefits of private-public partnerships. The United Nation organization hope private sector partners will use the new platform to provide funding for crowdsourced innovation challenges besides engaging their smart minds in solving real-world problems UNICEF workers are facing in the field. As declared in the “Q&A” section of the new platform, 

“We  are  seeing  a  shift  in  private  sector  companies  away  from  competition  and  towards  collaboration.  Companies  see  that  by  pulling  in  the  resources  and  strengths  of  different  groups,  they  can  really  extend  their  value  proposition. This is the same in the social sector. We  realize  that  we  cannot  achieve  everything  on  our  own,  and  while  we  are  experts  in  development  we  don’t  necessarily  have  the  technological  background  to  ensure  the  best  solutions  can  be  found  and  scaled. The  goal  of    CauseTech  is  to  expand  the  sphere  of  how  we  look  at  private  public  partnerships  so  that  we  can  really  go  beyond  philanthropy  and  move  towards  engagement 

We  believe  that  for  the  global  challenges we  are addressing, the  solutions  are  out  there.

This article is from www.co-society.com/unicef-looks-co-innovation-solve-challenges

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s