Innovation Strategy 2IM

Médecins sans Frontières Operational Centre Geneva (MSF OCG)’s Initiative for Medical Innovation (2IM) has successfully introduced the beginnings of a change in organisational culture through a number of innovation projects. Every department has now adopted the notion of innovation and risk taking and a mindset of challenging the status quo. We have found evidence that the 2IM Initiative has, with a degree of success, started to address an identified latent risk aversion in OCG.

Any form of organisational change must be expected to lead to tensions within the status quo, and to some extend this was even intended and deemed necessary. However, a lack of clarity on terminology, roles, responsibilities, functionalities and business processes incorporated risks which were not always well understood or managed, particularly during the design stage of the 2IM Initiative and in some cases exacerbated during implementation.

Our analysis shows that there are now opportunities to take the 2IM Initiative to the next level by strengthening:

1. Operational ownership of innovation

2. Collaboration between various internal key stakeholders

3. Innovation project management

More generally we recommend that OCG leadership:

1. Capitalises on existing dynamics between individuals and departments in OCG and move away from the competition model of the past by strengthening and formalising already existing collaboration on innovation.

2. Endorses the adaptation and integration of OCG Project Management Office tools for innovation project management.

3. Incentivises risk taking, thinking out of the box and map and mainstream the conditions for creative thinking in all accountability frameworks (e.g. job profiles) at all levels and encouraging staff in every possible way, including offering staff personal development opportunities and holding staff personally accountable for performance in these areas.

Implementing these recommendations will have implications for the management structure. We have found that notions of collaboration, incubation and mainstreaming innovation are worth considering when moving the 2IM Initiative into the next phase.

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