Download UNICEF’s Innovations brochure here

We build and scale innovations that improve children’s lives around the world.

Innovation at UNICEF is driven by an interdisciplinary team of individuals around the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling technologies and practices that strengthen UNICEF’s work for children. Innovations range from new ways to structure programmes to new products and technologies.

UNICEF needs to be agile and adapt to the evolving challenges affecting all children — from disease outbreaks, to the global refugee crisis, to millions of out-of-school children. One thing that is consistent: the speed at which these problems disrupt the lives of children worldwide is only getting faster.

To address these problems, UNICEF works with a network of global problem solvers who can find new ways to accelerate results that reduce inequities for children. You can learn more about our partners here.

UNICEF Innovation includes:

  • The Office of Innovation, which focuses on solutions at varying stages: Futures, Ventures, and Scale.
  • An Innovation Unit within the UNICEF Supply Division in Copenhagen, which focuses on improving the designs of physical products that help children.
  • A network of Innovation Labs and problem solvers around the world that bring together the private sector, academia, and the public sector to develop solutions for key social issues, and ensure we are always watching for new ideas from unexpected places.

From innovations like mobile birth registration in Nigeria, to using drones in Malawi to transport blood samples for early infant diagnosis of HIV, to using SMS to support mothers in Mexico – the connected world that we live in is generating and sharing opportunities in a fundamentally different way than it ever has before.

Access to information is essential to innovation for equity. The biggest change that we need to foster, and that is happening already in some places, is the push to connect the world’s most marginalized populations so they have access to information, to opportunity, and to choice. This underlies a great deal of the innovation agenda – because without access to information and connectivity young people are stifled and put at risk.

Our work is built on a set of principles, including working with the end-user to design solutions, and open sourcing our work so that it’s scalable and adaptable.

UNICEF Innovation works across three main areas:

  • Taking proven solutions to scale globally, bringing hundreds of Country Offices innovations in partnerships, products, new technologies, or connections to other parts of the organization;
  • Testing and prototyping solutions that have the potential to impact children’s lives;
  • Looking at the 3-5 year future horizon for UNICEF – things that are coming but not yet ready, like 3D printing, drones, digital currency, and other emerging trends.

Download Our Annual Reports

2013-2014 Annual Report Designed by Zoe Padgett


2012-2013 Annual Report Designed by Divya Gaitonde


2011-2012 Annual Report Designed by John Ryan


2010-2011 Annual Report Designed by Dee Kim




UNICEF works to prevent child deaths and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. We have the global authority to influence decision-makers, and the variety of partners at both the global and grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality. Our proven track record on improving the lives of millions of children and families, particularly in resource-limited settings makes us unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young. UNICEF combines local understanding with global knowledge to innovate new, scalable solutions.


This site captures stories, resources, and ideas about innovation in international development from UNICEF staff around the world. You will find first-person stories and the links you need to adapt these projects for your own use. We welcome submissions from interested staff members and partners.

Read about our Key Principles for Innovation→