The workshop convened by the Rockefeller Foundation brought together over 60 participants from more than 50 social innovation hubs across the world. These included participants from the United Stated Agency for International development (USAID), World Bank, Rockefeller Foundation, Bridgespan, Global Knowledge Initiative, IKEA Foundation, ImpactXdesign, Kenya Development Association, Kenya Development Foundation, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Winrock International, Omidyar Network among others. Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) was represented by Dr. Dorothy Okello, Director Innovation and Mr. Nathan Tumuhamye Director Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab. The objectives of the workshop were;

  1. To take stock and exchange knowledge on innovative tools for social impact
  2. To develop concrete ways to improve tools and the eco-system/market enabling use of innovative tools
  3. To get the message out about tools and innovations

The workshop involved scanning through the landscape of tools that help to unleash innovation within our social impact work. It also involved sharing experiences, discussing value and challenges in different scenarios related to effectively supporting and growing the Innovation Eco-system. Some of the tools discussed include; Social innovation labs, Design thinking specifically rapid prototyping, Systems mapping and innovation system analysis, Fellowships and trainings, Horizon scanning, Awards and competitions, Accelerators and incubators, Scenarios and scenario planning and strategies for cultivating an innovation mindset or innovative organizational culture.

Additionally, participants also discussed how we employ innovative tools within the problem solving missions and strategies of social undertakings. They looked at the business models underpinning the relationships between tool developers and tool users. It was also an opportunity to present how these tools are employed according to the lifecycle of problem solving approaches. The engaging workshop discussions were beyond the needs and experiences of workshop participants so as to address the broader community of innovators and social entrepreneurs, including applying the workshop learnings to real world case studies.

The RAN Team shared about the current innovation tools the network in collaboration with its Core Partners have put together and are guiding its operations including; Intervention strategy tool sets, Human Centered Design tool set, how competitions and awards ceremonies are organized, and the general overview of the RAN methodology. The team also learnt about other exciting innovation tools that have been developed by other partners and actively joined in the discussions directed towards improving and refining them with emphasis on how to put all these into full use. To that end, participants identified a need to come together as a hub to:

  • Provide a marketplace where social impact leaders can share ideas, tools and approaches for enhancing impact
  • Identify opportunities to refine existing innovative tools for social impact, making them more effective in addressing common challenges
  • Identify gaps between available tools and the challenges they are intended to address, revealing areas where new approaches may be needed

The workshop also offered opportunities for social innovation hubs not only to learn about and reflect on the work that they have accomplished thus far but also take a hands-on approach towards improving and defining the innovative tools and approaches needed for the future of the innovation eco-system.