Rapid innovation partnerships for systemic change – is that even possible? The question was raised yesterday in our BFP online discussion as part of theor Covid-19 activities. Short answer: Yes! And it is necessary. But it needs facilitation.
The distinction between temporary and long term partnerships was useful here. Many examples of rapid innovation partnerships center around a concrete technical challenge. Apple and Google need to enable their devices to interact with Bluetooth for tracing. Ford and 3M are building a new ventilator model. GSK and Sanofi are searching for a vaccine together. Once the technical challenge is solved, their mission has been completed. There is no need for a systems angle and long term perspective here – we just need this innovation now!
But rapid innovation partnerships can also combine emergency response with a “build back better” lense. For example, we are working with partners on ways to leverage remote sensing to avoid a food crisis as a result of present shut downs in certain countries. At the same time, we look at how to build more inclusive and resilient food systems. Other initiatives around health care logistics, last mile distribution and resilient cities are in the pipeline with the same short term-long term approach. (We will share more on these initiatives soon – stay tuned!)
How can you put together interventions rapidly and still keep a long term view? The secret sauce here is facilitation. As facilitators, provide a process that enables partners to come on board quickly – they don’t have to deal with partnership agreements etc. Joining is free (but by invitation only) and the depth of engagement can be decided along the way. Then we take them through an innovation journey that is rapid, bringing the right players on board as needed. (For more on our methodology see www.ii2030.com .) This “systems change innovation” approach allows all participants to act fast and keep a long term view – without having to figure out everything in the beginning.
Agile approaches work for collaborative innovation, too. Design thinking tools, innovation sprints, fast prototyping etc. speed up the co-creation journey. Melting analysis and creativity, but also emotion and intuition together in the process forms a strong team across organizations. We are now doing this for the first time fully online.
We, as an organization and as a society, need to learn more about how to speed up collaborative innovations for systems change. There has never been a better time to fast-prototype new approaches to systems innovation.
Catch up on the online discussion on ‘How Can Partnerships Create Rapid Innovation During COVID-19 Crisis?’ by clicking here.
To receive a summary of the discussion, insight report, and Action Toolkit on Partnerships for Rapid Innovation, sign up here.
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