Системы исследований и распространения

FAO's Office of Innovation holds a successful retreat to redefine its vision and mission to drive agrifood system transformation through innovation

10 May 2023

FAO’s Office of Innovation (OIN) held a three-day retreat from 17 to 19 April 2023 to reshape its foundation and deliberate on strategic innovation processes and services it should offer to FAO and its Members. The event aimed at defining the vision and mission of the Office of Innovation and help positioning FAO as a leading UN agency on innovation for agrifood systems transformations globally.

The retreat began with an exercise aimed at refreshing the vision and mission of the Office, involving envisioning what the world might look like in 2050, and what role innovation in FAO would play in that transformation. The agenda also featured a panel discussion with Regional and Country Offices on new and emerging areas of demand from Governments and development partners, as well as a presentation and discussion on innovation team models in the UN and beyond.

The OIN retreat also focused on portfolio sensemaking and developing insights and opportunity areas for the OIN's current work and assets. Participants engaged in sharing what they were doing, reflecting on how the activities and capabilities of the OIN stack up against the refreshed intent and mission, as well as demand from country offices from different angles.

The Director of the Office of Innovation, Vincent Martin, designed the retreat in an inclusive and participative way and welcomed not only OIN staff, but also colleagues and partners in technical divisions and decentralized offices. It provided the opportunity to revisit the business model of the Office, as a diving force of innovation across FAO, building on the current work, assets, and interest from other units, with a specific focus on country-led innovation and deep and systemic transformation.

The retreat featured different group exercises aimed to promote team building, communication, and problem-solving skills. The exercises were guided by Kal and Stephanie (co-founders of Tandemic, an innovation firm) and provided an opportunity for team members to interact with each other in an innovative and engaging way. In addition to the group exercises, there were also colleagues-led sessions of yoga, salsa, and capoeira. These sessions offered a chance for team members to express their talents and creativity, try new things and learn from each other while having fun. The retreat provided a great opportunity for team members to bond and learn new skills together, ultimately improving team dynamics and productivity in the workplace.

The Vision statement, "WE INNOVATE EVERYDAY for a world in which countries, partners and FAO itself effectively leverage innovation products, processes and methods to transform agrifood systems to become more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable, in order to achieve better production, nutrition, environment and life for all, leaving no one behind" reflects the Office's belief that innovation is key to addressing the challenges facing food and agriculture today. It also emphasizes that innovation starts within ourselves and requires a systemic and collaborative approach.

All colleagues joined in to redefine the mission areas that reflects OIN's commitment to supporting member countries towards agrifood system transformation through creating an enabling environment for co-innovation.

This mission will be achieved through anticipating and planning for the future, fostering digital transformation, accelerating learnings through innovative knowledge sharing approaches, catalysing deep and systemic transformation, and streamlining innovation by creating a safe space for innovators to co-create solutions.

With the newly defined Vision and Mission, the Office of Innovation is poised to help member countries  apply modern science and technology and adopt innovative approaches when facing new situations and challenges, in view of  transforming agrifood systems and achieve food security for all. OIN aims to offer services and invest resources to drive innovation across the Organization successfully, while also working as an integrated team to support the whole Organization from country and regional offices to technical divisions. The retreat concluded by defining a set of habits to take up in working as an integrated team and a clear vision and mission for the Office.

The newly defined vision and mission of the Office of Innovation mark a significant step towards positioning FAO as a leading UN agency on innovation for agrifood systems transformations globally.