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New to innovations? Start with these steps and resources

1. Learn what “innovation” means

Innovation is a solution that works better than before. It can be a new device that brings about change but it can also be an existing solution used in a new way. Often, there is the misconception that only technological and new solutions are innovations – that is not the case. Dive in to learn more about the term and how to use it with the guidance of Fingo’s Mika Välitalo in this 7-minute video.

2. Design with a human-centered approach

Human-centered design is a highly recommended approach when creating innovations. To create a solution that works better than before you will need to understand the needs and the situations of the individuals who will use it. Otherwise, you might create something that is irrelevant for the users. One place to learn more is the Field Guide to Human-Centered Design which is a very good and practical guide for development organizations. The guide explains how to solve problems as a designer. Check out also Ideou’s website that helps you to understand what design thinking is.

3. Learn about Development Innovation Principles

Did you know that there are 8 Development Innovation Principles agreed by the international community? The principles suggest, for example, that one should promote inclusive innovations and invest in locally driven solutions. A good way to learn more about them is to check out IDIA’s the Development Innovation Principles in Practice that opens up the principles in a concrete manner. Further, IDIA and Apolitical also offer a free online course about the principles.

4. Attend free online courses

It might be difficult to grasp what innovation and human-centered design are. One way to deepen your knowledge is to attend online courses. For example, the Introduction to Human Centered Design by +Acumen is a free online course that begins from introduction to human-centered design and continues to prototyping and implementing your ideas in the real world. There are also multiple online courses that focus on innovation. For instance, check out Coursera’s websites.

5. Check out relevant studies

Last but not least, we have listed you a few useful studies that help you to dig deeper about innovations in development.

Development Aid 2.0 – Towards Innovation-Centric Development Cooperation (Hooli & Jauhiainen 2017)

The study examines how innovations have become important parts of development cooperation. The paper brings up cases from Finnish cooperation with Southern African countries.

The Role of Innovation in Development (Fagerberg, Srholec & Verspagen 2010)

Innovation is not only for highly educated labor – it is for all, including countries in the Global South. The paper also examines how developing countries could exploit technology to their own advantage.

Promoting Innovation in Developing Countries: A Conceptual Framework (Aubert 2005)

A many-in-one paper that discusses about innovation from all steps and processes from the very basics to the challenges and global trends. The paper provides key point about what organizations should understand when they incorporate innovations into their work.