Innovation is a critical driver of impact and systems transformation for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its partners. This is especially crucial considering the increasingly complex migration landscape and the unprecedented number of people affected by humanitarian crises. As the UN migration agency, IOM is investing in new ways of thinking to scale up solutions and enable synergistic approaches. These include investing in developing capacities to look beyond single point solutions to explore opportunities for transformative change and piloting new approaches that can foster increased effectiveness, efficiency, and scalability of results.
IOM's Innovation portfolio is managed and coordinated by the Innovation and Knowledge Management (IKM) Unit within the Department of Policy and Research at IOM Headquarters in Geneva. The IKM Unit is the institutional focal point on knowledge management and innovation in relation to migration policy and programming. The Unit leverages innovative approaches and practices to enable systemic transformation, address pressing migration challenges, and strengthen partnerships with governments, the UN system, the private sector, academia, and innovation networks.
The Unit coordinates the IOM Innovation Awards, manages the internal knowledge sharing platform – Peer Exchange and Learning on Migration (POEM), and knowledge exchange activities such Konnect Learning Sessions, Talking Migration Podcast, and coordinates a range of global and regional initiatives to leverage knowledge and innovation as drivers of sustainable development.
IOM INNOVATION PRINCIPLES
Embedding innovation in a systemic approach allows the Organization and its partners to harness the potential of innovation not just as a quick fix, but as a core driver of long-term impact.
- Interrelated and Connected
IOM encourages innovation in its internal practices and culture, through collaborative relationships between and within HQ and field offices. IOM also promotes innovation in external partnerships, to seek new and creative ways to collaborate in different sectors and with diverse actors, with an emphasis on the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, to ensure migrants, local governments and other key stakeholders are included in the process. Grounded in its wide range partnerships, innovation applies to all areas of IOM’s work and as part of the organizational culture, should be considered by all staff, including in programme design, policy intervention and internal management processes, as it provides opportunities to add value to the Organization’s activities and to meet the changing needs of the beneficiaries.
- Proactive and Transformative
IOM’s innovative interventions address not only issues linked to current priorities but also proactive measures, informed by its global field presence and expertise in migration governance. Responding to political, social, economic as well as environmental challenges, IOM’s innovation employs unconventional and context-specific approaches and brings about changes that are transformative and impactful.
- Scalable, Accelerable, Adaptable and Sustainable
IOM identifies and implements innovative solutions to migration challenges that can be scaled up, accelerated, adapted, and sustained. This involves analysing data and evidence to identify approaches that have the potential for systemic change. Working with communities and other stakeholders to co-create and implement solutions. Using alternative evaluation methods that are consistent with the nature of innovation. Ensuring that solutions are sustainable, meaning that they are economically viable, socially and culturally responsive, environmentally sound, and accessible to everyone.
- Migrant-centered, Gender Sensitive and Inclusive
With strong field presence and expertise in providing direct services as well as capacity development to a diverse population of migrants, IOM is well placed to develop and lead innovative solutions to the evolving challenges that may accompany people on the move and their communities. It is fundamental that all migrants remain at the heart of innovative interventions, through all stages of the project life cycle from design to implementation and that IOM use innovative practices to serve migrants in meeting their needs. All migrants include, but not limited to, persons of all sexes, youth, disability status, racial and ethnic minorities, persons with diverse SOGIESC, children and adults of different ages, as gender sensitivity and diversity inclusion will be at the core of IOM’s innovation approach. IOM will also continue to seek ways to highlight and realize the potential of migrants to be a driving force of innovation.
Innovation: UN 2.0 and the Quintet of Change
IOM joins the global community in advancing the UN Vision 2.0 which encapsulates the Secretary-General's vision of a UN family rejuvenated by a forward-thinking culture and empowered by cutting-edge skills for the twenty-first century.
IOM and the broader UN system jointly embrace a transformative vision – a vision where innovation, data, digital, foresight and behavioural science skills and culture converge. A dynamic combination called the “Quintet of Change”. The Quintet of Change represents a joint commitment to forging a path forward that is responsive, forward-looking, and resilient.
INNOVATION IN IOM
For decades, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has championed innovative solutions, leveraging cutting-edge technology, data, partnerships, policies and programmes to enhance the safety and well-being of migrants worldwide. Through partnerships and forward-thinking programmes, IOM pioneers ground-breaking approaches to address the complex challenges of migration, enriching the lives of migrants and communities.
IKM UNIT INITIATIVES
The IKM Unit is at the forefront of driving a culture of innovation in the Organization. Through its initiatives, the Unit ensures that innovation becomes a central asset in IOM’s mission to enhance impact and scalability of results. The unit also supports capacity development of IOM staff and partners on innovation and works in partnership with different stakeholders including governments, private sector, academia, and CSOs to co-create long-lasting solutions.
STORIES OF INNOVATION
Winners of the 2023 Innovation Awards @ IOM
The 2023 Awards were awarded at the IOM Global Chiefs of Missions Meeting (GCOMM) in Istanbul on 25 October 2023. The winners of the 2023 Awards spanned six categories, showcasing pioneering solutions for the Organization, its beneficiaries and partners.