The original blog post was published on 4 March 2016 on Third Force News.Written by Dr Sharad Sapra, Principal Adviser and Director of the Global Innovation Centre, UNICEF.

Scotland is home to a vibrant digital technologies industry

Over the last five years the sector has grown substantially, with increasing start-up activity and over one thousand companies engaged in a variety of activities from software development and IT services to digital agencies, game development and telecommunications.

It is obvious that these technologies are disrupting traditional industries, creating new and innovative businesses within Scotland, but what is not so obvious is the potential that this could have for Unicef’s work for children.

Since early 2015, Unicef has had an increased presence and permanent office in Scotland, where we work with key stakeholders to promote the rights and wellbeing of children through programmes such as Rights Respecting Schools and partnerships with the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council.

An increasing focus of Unicef’s work, however, is innovation; identifying, prototyping and scaling technologies that could improve children’s lives around the world.

Innovations using mobile technology to register births, sharing real-time data to improve education and health and giving young people a way to connect with their governments are already changing the way we work but there is much more to do.

This is where we see huge potential working with the Scottish technology sector. At Unicef, we need more innovations urgently to solve some of the challenges that children face and building relationships with key organisations, entrepreneurs and experts is crucial in our work to “innovate for impact”.

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