Innovation factory – realising shared solutions

Project description


Innovation factory – realising shared solutions

Commissioned by:

German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)


Global (spanning different regions of the world)

Lead executing agency:

German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Overall term:

2014 to 2017


Working together as partners is the key to tackling global challenges on a more sustainable basis in future. The international community set out the conditions for partnership-based cooperation in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action, reinforcing them in the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation. However, hopes for adequate participation by partner countries have yet to be fulfilled. Despite numerous and wide-ranging international dialogue processes, barely any progress has been made so far in terms of mobilising the international community to be more economical in its use of resources, ensuring food security for the growing global population, and improving health care worldwide.

For partners to work together effectively, they all need to be motivated and prepared to engage in cross-border activities within a group of international actors and to play their part in developing and implementing solutions. The international cooperation projects that have been and continue to be successful are those which not only create solutions at a theoretical level, but which also enable participants to jointly develop and implement concepts and projects. Knowledge sharing, with a view to application, and global networking are means to an end, the end being the development of viable and sustainable solutions.

The project starts by addressing the global challenges that are facing the agricultural, health care and conservation sectors. These issues are preventing actors from exploiting the potential of cross-border and/or cross-cultural dialogue for jointly developing sustainable solutions. As a result, there is too little focus on needs when implementing innovative concepts for sustainable development in agriculture, health care and conservation within cross-regional networks.


Innovation factory participants jointly develop solutions that are adapted to local circumstances and deliver long-term improvements in the living conditions of groups such as smallholders, mothers and children, and young adults trained in conservation.


The innovation factory provides a space for developing new concepts and approaches within international cooperation. It is designed to help stakeholders in topic-specific networks on health care, agriculture and conservation to work together to develop new solutions. The factory's methodology centres around stakeholders identifying needs in their respective countries and the national networks sharing knowledge with each other across continents to identify effective approaches.

In addition to Germany, the project involves two or three countries from each of the following continents/regions: Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and/or Latin America. The plan is for one network of actors per country to work together to develop solutions in each of the areas of health care, agriculture and conservation. This work will involve three processes: identifying needs, transferring knowledge and implementing measures. The innovation factory will offer alternative financing options to provide (financial) impetus for project development and implementation, make time and space for actors and networks to collaborate, and support participants using modern methods of self-organisation, flat hierarchies, team-development strategies and other resources. The networks will share knowledge and good practice, and develop, prepare and pilot solutions.

The initial work topics are:

  1. Requirements for implementing innovative approaches
  2. Using new media in health care (e-health)
  3. Using ICT solutions in agriculture (ICT4Ag)
  4. Employing young adults in conservation projects (future4nature)