UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre’s (GIC) provides leadership and technical support to the roll-out and scale-up of a select portfolio of proven, innovative solutions by expanding their application from one to several countries and regions. The Centre achieves its vision to inspire and support new approaches to UNICEF and our partner’s work to achieve a powerful impact for children by:
- Identifying field-tested, proven innovations that benefit all children, particularly those most disadvantaged
- Scaling-up these innovations at national scale across multiple countries and regions
- Engaging and inspiring external stakeholders, the public, NGO and private sector
- Fostering South-South cooperation
The Centre supports and incubates innovations developed by UNICEF, partners and external sources. It manages a portfolio of innovations – from new ideas that need to be incubated and assessed for scale up to robust solutions implemented at national level in multiple countries. Each Innovation is field-tested to assess criteria of scalability, replicability, robustness and effectiveness and is guided by UNICEF’s innovation principles.
The work of the Centre is supported and guided by a set of Core Sponsors. Core Sponsors propose, evaluate and recommend potential innovations for consideration in the GIC innovation pipeline and review their progress; provide financial support; share their technical expertise and network; and advocate by contributing thought leadership on innovation for children, and promoting the value of innovating for and with children, especially the most marginalized. The founding GIC members include:
The Centre’s portfolio is grouped into three areas:
Real Time Information – from “What happened?” to what’s happening. A key challenge in international development work is the ability to know where inequities are the most extreme, disparities are the greatest, who is not being reached, who is not using essential services and why this is the case. Digital technology provides opportunity to access information which can immediately shed light on what works and what doesn’t, and allows the situation to be understood and much more quickly addressed by all who have an ability and responsibility to act.
- mTrac and EduTrac. mTrac and EduTrac are tools that collect real-time information and give decision makers a new way to respond to challenges in delivering essential services. These tools allow teachers, health workers, and others to send and receive vital information instantly, saving time and money compared to paper-based approaches.
Youth engagement – Incredible advances in digital communication technology provide an unprecedented opportunity for young people to connect, support and counsel each other. If these conversations can be guided, harnessed and aggregated then a powerful voice can be created that will reach the highest levels of government and create the change young people want to see in the world.
- U-Report. The U-Report (http://ureport.in/) social messaging tool enables communication between young people and decision makers. U-Report works over SMS on even a basic mobile phone. It is also available on social media. As of October 2015, U-Report is live in 17 countries and more than 1.6 million people are sending or receiving messages every week.
Access to information – Innovations in connectivity, power, water, healthcare and many other areas hold great promise to address fundamental infrastructural challenges that blight children’s lives. Basic life enhancing information is also a human right, regardless of location, literacy level, or income. Developing products and services that improve access to this information to the most deprived children can save lives and help individuals fulfill their potential.
- Internet of Good Things. Internet of Good Things is packaged content designed to make information available for free, even on low-end devices. Currently this content is accessible in 18 countries with plans to scale to 40 countries by the end of 2015.