Today Minister Bishop launched DFAT’s development innovation hub as innovationXchange.
This launch, foreshadowed in the Minister’s announcement of the new aid paradigm in June last year, affirms the Government’s push for the department to be more creative, entrepreneurial and innovative in its design and delivery of the Australian aid program.
Several key innovationXchange investments were announced at today’s launch.
A $20 million partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies – the Data for Health partnership – will be the first of its kind for Australia’s aid program and for Bloomberg. It will build the capacity of governments in developing countries to collect vital health information more cheaply and quickly and use it more effectively to build better health systems.
Reflecting the focus on our immediate region, SEED Pacific will broker and support promising partnerships between global businesses and local organisations to develop new viable business solutions that have a development impact.
And as part of innovationXchange’s role in facilitating innovation across the Department, DFAT’s inaugural Ideas Challenge, which is the subject of a separate message to staff, is being opened today for all staff to participate.
The Minister also announced the creation of a 14-member International Reference Group that has brought together leading innovators who will provide strategic guidance and forge linkages with new partners and new sources of financing. High profile members include Michael Bloomberg from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ms Sally Osberg from the Skoll Foundation and Dr Sam Prince MD entrepreneur and philanthropist.
innovationXchange will test and drive new and exciting technologies, ideas and partnerships that can be embedded across the Department. Supported with $140 million over four years, particular attention will be given to leveraging new sources of financing to catalyse new approaches to development and enhance Australia’s impact on the economies of the Indo-Pacific region.
Importantly, the responsibility to innovate does not lie solely with innovationXchange. In an environment of contracting aid budgets, it is important to innovate to ensure that our aid program delivers results with even greater efficiency. innovationXchange is already working collaboratively with DFAT teams across a range of programs and priorities; this collaboration will accelerate.