Foreword At the World Food Programme (WFP), innovation has been at our core from the very beginning. For decades, WFP’s undeterred focus on reaching people in need has driven us to constantly look for new approaches to food assistance in even the most precarious environments.
This book tells that story. It shows in detail how, over the past four decades, creative minds at WFP have worked together on innovations in programmes, delivery systems, and even in back office processes to make WFP more efficient and effective. All of this to better serve those who need our help.
We are recognized around the world and within the United Nations as a trailblazer. But we will never just rest on our laurels. We will continue to look for new approaches and use new technologies to reach more people in need. Just in the past few years alone:
• We have tapped into new ways to asses needs and provide food assistance through mobile phone technology;
• Unmanned aerial vehicles have become commonplace in our operations;
• Our beneficiaries are taking advantage of digital cash-based transfer programmes allow people to buy what they need, when and where they need it • And WFP is even experimenting with cutting edge technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence to improve our operations.
To nurture even more innovative thinking at WFP we created an in-house “Innovation Accelerator” in 2015. We based it on best practices from the world of startups, the corporate sector and leading social entrepreneurs. The Accelerator offers a risk-free environment to experiment with new approaches, access to State-of-the-Art innovation methodologies and external networks to take innovations from inspiration to implementation.
I want to thank and congratulate my predecessors and former colleagues, especially those who have shared their experiences in this book. Thank you for creating an organisation that I am privileged to lead today – one with a “can-do” attitude that has innovation as part of its DNA. I would also like to thank the Alumni Network for putting this publication together, which I hope everyone who works with or cares about what WFP does will read. It proves what I like to say:
WFP is the best of the best.