In my last blog post I talked about key principles behind successful innovations. This time I want to share some of the tools our innovation team uses in our daily work here at UNICEF Headquarters in New York to help envision and test successful innovations. Because the list is long, I will keep posting during the upcoming weeks, so please stay tuned. This first post concentrates on effective teamwork, which is perhaps the most important tool of all.
I was inspired to write about this topic when I bought a book for my thesis work a month ago. The book is called “This Is Service Design Thinking. Basics – Tools – Cases” and it is like a bible for my MBA study program of Service Innovation and Design. Design Thinking is all about user-centered design, which is one of the key principles behind our work when innovating solutions that benefit children in real contexts. Since most of our work with country offices is done remotely, we also use more traditional tools such as sticky notes, white boarding, data visualization, and team meetings that at a first glance may seem self-explanatory but I feel deserve to be recognized as well. Let me introduce you to some of the tools that I have encountered during my time here.
Brown Bag Lunch – Rae (in the middle) teaches basics of coding to the team. Photo credit: Christopher Fabian, New York
Multidisciplinary teamwork is a tool in itself
Being part of the innovation unit for three months now, I have had the chance to get to know many projects and see different ways of working within those projects. Our multidisciplinary team uses various traditional and field-specific tools in their work. These tools offer the possibility of not only working more effectively but also approaching issues from new angles and enhancing the design process.
As a multidisciplinary team, we each bring different skills and experiences to the table. Effective collaboration comes from understanding the strengths of each team member, and engaging their guidance and assistance on relevant projects. Learning from, helping, and complementing each other is the beauty of multidisciplinary teamwork.
Effective communication makes a big difference for a team