UNSSC announced today a major research partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to capture and document the ability of the UN Innovation Toolkit to transform the work of UN organizations and draw attention to examples of positive change leadership. The joint research project builds upon the strong relationship between IFAD and UNSSC in the effort to advance and promote innovation in the UN system.  

The UN innovation Toolkit, which was developed at the request of the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, includes twenty-one tools, step-by-step directions, worksheets, case studies, references as well as a 27-question assessment to diagnose strengths and areas for improvement in UN teams and departments. 

Coordinated by IFAD’s Change, Delivery and Innovation Unit (CDI), the research is being conducted within the framework of the UNSSC/IE University Summer Research Programme of the Bachelor in International Relations. The UNSSC/IE University Summer Research Programme, in its academic year 2020-2021, is engaging UNSSC personnel, selected IE students and faculty to analyse, document and draw lessons learned from the mainstreaming of the UN Innovation Toolkit across the UN System. The objective is to verify that the toolkit responds to the needs of its users, and to advance its broader adoption.

Three key areas of focus for the research

The research at IFAD will focus on current initiatives where the UN Innovation Toolkit, together with IFAD’s own methodology, has played a role to strengthen essential pillars of innovation such as Partnerships, Architecture and Culture. In their learning journey, research teams will tackle some key questions through their research, such as:  

  • How the Toolkit has helped to mainstream or implement a specific innovation initiative; and 
  • What challenges the innovators encountered and how the UN Innovation Toolkit could contribute to overcome these challenges and establish systems that foster innovation.

The research entails several milestones and activities, such as taking part in an inception meeting with all the organizations involved, analysing first and secondary data, and proposing recommendations. The final deliverable will consist of three research papers, the findings and conclusions of which will be shared in a public virtual event in the fall of 2021. 

For more information on IFAD’s work on innovation, visit: https://www.ifad.org/en/innovation