Changing Social Norms Surrounding Innovation

UNHCR’s Innovation Service is undertaking an experiment studying norms change that will test new approaches to how innovation is talked about in the organisation. These approaches are rooted in grassroots tactics and social science research on norms change, storytelling and influencing. The Innovation Service is experimenting to see how it can better influence and build a culture for innovation. This approach works with identified influencers and leaders within the organisation to model desired behaviours. The Innovation Service has identified core competencies of innovators and will work with team leads to model specific competencies and disseminate messages to influence norms and behaviours that support new ways of working and innovating. The competency model developed will be used to identify gaps between current behaviour and desired behaviour for a specific group. The project experiments with novel ways of conducting evaluation through measuring shifts in perception with qualitative and anecdotal evidence and attempting to measure behaviour change over an extended period of time. It is expected to fully launch in 2021 with a view of scaling across UNHCR operations to build new innovation norms into UNHCR’s culture over the coming years.

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