Innovation fund: sport, English and knowledge sharing to improve UNDP’s performance

Jul 12, 2016

Marceline Bahati suggested the implementation of an « English day ». She was among the winners.

UNDP DRC colleagues will soon be able to improve their English level, practice a sport, and take action for the creation of a sustainable development library!

This is the trifecta of proposed ideas as part of the Innovation Local Fund’s first round. Each winning idea will receive 5000 USD to be implemented by the end of 2016.

Through this new initiative, all staff members were invited to submit their innovative ideas aimed at improving their performance and strengthen team cohesion.

Marceline Bahati and Clotilde Aziza Bangwene suggested the implementation of an « English day ». They were among the winners.

We wanted English to play a role in our workplace in a more relaxed atmosphere to facilitate learning and practicing the language. The lack of English proficiency can be an obstacle to professional development. Many of us have missed international opportunities just because we do not have the required English level” they explained.  From now on, every Friday, all colleagues will be invited to communicate in English through email, phone calls or meetings. English lessons will be provided in Kinshasa, Bukavu and Bunia offices to consolidate students.

The objective of the “dream team” who proposed to open a gym was to « communicate the benefits of sport to colleagues by creating a space dedicated to it close to the office. Medical tests done by UNDP staff this year revealed that many people had high cholesterol. This is due to a lack of sport, to stress and to an unbalanced diet. So the gym is also a way to prevent these kind of illnesses” said Sylvie Olela Odimba, Gisèle Mwamba and Clément Lachenal. At this stage, the decision concerning the gym’s location is being finalized, and in order to ensure the project’s sustainability, colleagues will be invited to financially participate through a symbolic nominal fee.

Delly Zagabe’s idea to create a sustainable development library was also selected. Delly was inspired by UNDP’s mission. “Similarly to a great school, UNDP is an organization that should train, inform and teach the people it serves for more than 50 years” he said. “In addition to gathering all the publications supported by our organization, this library will be accessible to students and researchers”

Encouraging innovation and idea sharing

Three months were enough to implement the Innovation Local Fund, initiated on March 21st. Throughout the process, colleagues were mobilized to propose and improve ideas. To organize the local fund’s first round, a committee was set up which ensured the process’ proper implementation in accordance with the predefined criteria of uniting the staff and promoting professional development.

The initiative’s objective was to encourage innovation by promoting an enabling environment where ideas are openly shared. It also aimed at improving the organization’s performance and reinforcing team cohesion centered around rewarding projects, which foster team spirit.

Management has ensured its commitment to promote and assist the 3 ideas’ implementation. “We strongly believe that cohesion and performance are strengthened by an innovative culture which favors emulation throughout the office. For the first round, individual or collective initiatives selected by the staff’s vote will be rewarded” said Priya Gajraj, UNDP DRC Country Director, president and member of the innovation committee.

Bernardo Cocco from the Knowlegde & Innovation team of UNDP New York reacted positively to the initiative. « We are looking forward to know the results of the first round and to know more about winning proposals. Maybe this initiative could be replicated as a good practice throughout UNDP offices”

Recently, a survey was launched internally to collect colleagues’ feedback on the Innovation fund’s first round. Various ideas were suggested to improve the process. The second round, which will be launched in October, will surely bring many surprises… as colleagues are ready to share their new ideas.

The innovation committee

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