How is the Australian Government responding to this need for change?
In 2015, the Hon. Julie Bishop MP (then Minister for Foreign Affairs), launched the innovationXchange to catalyse and support innovation across the Australian aid program. The innovationXchange shares learnings and brokers new connections so that innovation becomes intrinsic to the delivery of the whole aid program. All of Australia’s innovationXchange learning, experimenting and partnerships give effect to the 2030 Agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals.
For the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to be known as an exemplar in foreign affairs, trade and development impact and influence through embedded innovation practices.
Why innovate in aid and development?
We believe that innovation – finding new ways to solve problems – holds the key to keeping pace with, and adapting to, the rapidly changing development landscape. Innovation can help deliver development solutions that are cheaper, faster and more effective. By thinking differently about risk, we can make investments with greater reward and greater impact.
What is the change we want to see?
We want to see economies in our region grow and jobs created that will lift people out of poverty. We want to see efficient and effective governments. We want a world where women and minorities have access to the same opportunities as others.
Our innovationXchange team
Our innovationXchange team is a small group of 12 staff. Our professional backgrounds vary from aid and development work to roles across the private and public sectors. We encourage creative thinking, and we strive to incorporate fresh ideas and approaches into everything we do. We work with our partners to deliver programs sharing and extending our innovative approach.
Our International Reference Group
We are guided by a high level International Reference Group made up of global thought leaders. The IRG help identify and connect us to exciting opportunities, track emerging trends in their varied fields, including technology, innovative finance, philanthropy and social enterprise, and expand our networks.
Our portfolio of investments fall broadly under inclusive economic growth, health, water and humanitarian assistance. This thematic focus advances a deeper understanding of how innovations can catalyse change within and across complex development ecosystems, and our regional focus maximises the impact of our financial resources.
Our future promises to be as creative and exciting as our first three years. We will respond to the increasing demand for support from Australia’s bilateral and regional aid program, incubating ideas and supporting the adoption of innovative approaches in many different contexts. We will continue to focus on health, water and economic growth and will remain open to new opportunities to offer solutions to complex development challenges.