Biweekly workshop: innovation

Last week on May 8, us the Oxfam Academy students, had an interesting workshop delivered by our fellow intern, Saskia Geurtzen. The topic was about innovation. A term which is so often used today by organizations or businesses whose importance goes further to not only create competitive edge, but as a requirement to survive in modern society. Making this a topic that is very relevant to the ever-dynamic situation of NGOs, which Oxfam Novib is a part of.

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The biweekly meeting started with Saskia explaining some of the basic theories of innovation. First of all, by the extent of how much it changes the “rules of the game”, innovation can be divided into three: incremental, radical, and disruptive innovation. It could be as simple as changing the layout of the office to encourage the culture of collaboration or can be as radical as digitizing all the standard operating procedures to create efficiency and more transparency. One important thing emphasized in the workshop is how an innovation should be focused to improve user’s experience. Therefore, it is crucial to start by researching the actual problem and actually test the proposed solution with small number of users before actually scaling up the implementation.

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Next, to implement the theory of how important it is to gather information and feedback from users, we were given an exciting task! An assignment is always fun when we have the chance to interact with more people from the organization. The interns were separated into three groups, each handling an issue that are deemed important to be addressed in Oxfam Novib. After that the groups went to interview some other employees in Oxfam Novib and based on their response, created a value proposition that could improve the situation.

The three issues could not be more diverse. The first one was about how to improve the quality of interview results from the field. The next one was about how to create a more collaborative environment in the organization so that one person could get more knowledge on what’s other fellow employees in different units are working on. Lastly, it was about how to provide the facilities and service that could be helpful for employees in having more viable options for lunch. We presented our proposed solutions with great confidence knowing that they came up from what’s mentioned by our respondents and therefore making our analysis more objective and applicable. It was really good to put the knowledge into practice and having the chance to discuss with our fellow interns as well as the other employees in the organization.

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In the end, I think innovation needs to not only create more efficiency in an organization but it needs to provide more ease and for the employees to do their work. As Schumpeter (1942) said, though, this “two faced” characteristic of innovation could be a challenge as it requires us to strike a balance between streamlining processes, making everything happened faster and ensure the benefit is equally distributed to those impacted by it. This reflection is what I found most important from the workshop. I hope I could carry this thought whenever I’m doing an act of innovation at work in the future to bring impact in improving stakeholders’ experience.

By Christal Setyobudi – Intern on Fair Taxation. Learn more about Christal here!

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