Scaling innovations is a critical component of ending world hunger by 2030. Through the Innovation Accelerator’s Scale-up Enablement Programme, a dedicated team delivers tailored services that leverage the Accelerator’s expertise, access and network, to exponentially scale the most impactful innovations to meet this goal.
In 2020, the Scale-up Enablement portfolio grew to 14 projects, up from eight the year before. Three new entrants to the programme were fully external start-ups that came through the WFP Innovation Accelerator Sprint Programme. The Scale-up Enablement Programme has continued to develop its methodology to bring innovations to scale. Critical to this process is an early-stage tailored assessment workshop that provides an opportunity to identify gaps and design a clear path to scale among stakeholders that includes a project roadmap, milestones, roles and responsibilities.
To support this work of scaling innovations, a high priority in 2020 was the creation of a thriving innovation community, given its potential to amplify and localize innovation. The WFP Innovation Community comprises three distinct elements: Field and Regional Innovation Hubs, Innovation Champions Community and Internal Innovation Services.
In 2020, WFP established new Innovation Hubs in Kenya and Jordan. In Kenya, the WFP Innovation Hub for Eastern Africa secured US$ 3.2 million in funding from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The hub launched two innovation programmes — a Bootcamp and a Sprint Programme — in collaboration with the Accelerator and established a partnership with the Hult Prize to support the next generation of entrepreneurs.
In September 2020, the Accelerator launched the WFP Innovation Champions Community. This community empowers WFP staff to become agents for change, driving innovation within WFP and accelerating solutions for hunger.
With a personalized approach, the community has welcomed 142 new WFP Innovation Champions. The members represent 53 nationalities, are located in 44 duty stations across 31 different countries, and bring an incredible diversity of expertise and field experience to this thriving community.
The WFP Innovation Accelerator established this pillar to support WFP Business Units and Country Offices in strategic innovation integration and special projects. Faced with COVID-19 and travel restrictions, the team developed an online model for innovation workshops. It was tested through two remote workshops for South-South and Triangular Cooperation with over 60 participants dialling in from different locations. The lessons stemming from this experience have resulted in a leaner, scalable model for this internal innovation offering, one readily adaptable to multiple applications.
Before innovations even get to the Sprint phase, the sourcing and bootcamp process helps equip innovators to maximize impact. The team puts thought and care into every activity to achieve the best results for projects — providing value at every stage of the pipeline.
The Accelerator runs an annual Innovation Challenge, utilizing our growing network of Innovation Hubs, partners, and champions to spread the word to reach the most innovative startups globally. In 2020, the Innovation Challenge brought in 793 applications from 95 countries.
Each innovation undergoes a detailed matching process to ensure that the proposed solution addresses an existing food security need identified by WFP Country Offices.