A few months ago, we published a DIY guide to creating your own Innovation Lab.  Of course, it was a PDF – because we wanted to be able to print obnoxiously over-sized A3, full colour copies and bask in their cyan glow.  Today, we’re happy to announce the accompanying website: www.unicefinnovationlabs.org 

Like the print version, the website has everything you might need if you are trying to set up an innovation lab, trying to put together teams of people to approach tough problems in new ways, or simply interested in some language and stories about the wonderful work that is happening across regions and contexts when UNICEF brings together young people, technologists, academia and government to create and adapt solutions.

You will find a section introducing the concept of “Labs”.  This overview is useful for those trying get a big-picture view of advances happening from Armenia to Zambia, and who want to see what kind of exciting opportunities there are for engaging partners in new ways around some of the world’s toughest challenges.

You will find a section on our (unpatented) fiveprinciple approach to innovation that guides the Innovation Labs, and a great deal of the other innovation work that UNICEF Country Offices are doing.  These principles allow our teams to work towards solutions, be comfortable with sharing failures and successes, and ensure that what they build is replicable and adaptable by others.

Many country offices who are getting started with innovation work ask for a template or process to follow in their problem definition process. You will find, on the website, a set of models for examining difficult, multi-domain challenges through the eyes of innovation

UNICEF  offices are using labs in a variety of ways, from building systems for realtime information collection to youth engagement – here are stories types of labs, and what they are doing.

Of course, the most important questions are operational.  If you want to build a lab and cost it out, how would you plan a budget? How would you set out a space?  How would you negotiate with partners?  Some experiences with (and templates for) operational questions of budgetting, planning and process are here.   Finally,  the most important document in our ((UNICEF) work) lives? The (in)famous TOR.  Rather than create them from scratch, you will find a set of pre-made or adapted TORs for innovation work here 

We hope you enjoy the Lab Website, and we will continue to update it as new labs come online during 2013
Christopher Fabian

Kampala, Uganda

1 March, 2013

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