The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) engages in business transactions valued at $1 billion across the globe, primarily aimed at facilitating support to small-scale farmers. To date, IFAD has empowered approximately 483 million people to grow more food, better manage their land and natural resources, learn new skills, start small businesses, build strong organizations and gain a voice in decisions that affect their lives 

The COVID-19 pandemic hit many service delivery industries hard and in unpredictable ways causing great uncertainty, one of the most crucial ones being mailing systems. Confronted with this predicament, IFAD needed a swift, impactful and cost-effective solution. The organization employed the UN Innovation Toolkit,  a freely available public good that includes 21 tools, step-by-step directions, worksheets and case studies.  Here are some of the tools that they used to achieve their goal:

  • To make an informed decision and effectively prepare for uncertainties, IFAD utilized the Scenario Blueprint Tool to forecast impact. They examined the key factors that shape future priorities, including social, technological, economic, environmental, and political (STEEP) trends, then identified a specific scenario in which their innovation would play a role.
  • The Ecosystem Analysis Tool helped the team ensure the innovation would offer value to key actors and players in the ecosystem. The team compiled a list of organizations that had shared innovation objectives, detailing each organization's initiatives, and assessing each organization’s role within the wider ecosystem.

As they moved through the process, IFAD selected DocuSign as their preferred, accessible and scalable solution, one that is widely used by numerous banks and governments.

The Toolkit’s Innovation Storytelling Tool  helped the team identify relevant stakeholders, outlining their distinct characteristics, and devising an organizational response for each stakeholder in order to obtain their support. As a result IFAD, swiftly embraced DocuSign within three months, making it available throughout the organization.

By effectively training 150 personnel, with two personnel per office, as of 15 May 2023, IFAD has already digitally signed over 4,200 pages. The minimal cost – less than a euro per envelope – underscores the cost-effectiveness of this transformation. This shift has reduced document signing time from weeks to mere clicks, even without the constraints of COVID-19.  

The UN Innovation Toolkit has played a crucial role in supporting the entire life cycle of the Docusign initiative, encompassing the pre-implementation, implementation, and post-implementation phases, to harness swift action with scalable solutions.

Watch this video to learn more.