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AfDB innovation awards aimed at promoting a new organisational culture


The African Development Bank (AfDB) held an award ceremony for INNOPitch Initiative contestants who had submitted innovation ideas on how to improve the Bank’s business operations.

The June 27, 2016 event was presided over by President Akinwumi Adesina, at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. “Today we are writing a new page in the history of the African Development Bank, and we are doing it together. We want a Bank with a fresh organisational culture; a Bank that is open, transparent and collaborative,” said President Adesina during the ceremony.

INNOPitch is the Bank’s first internal innovation program. It seeks to promote a new organisational culture and change in the way the Bank conducts business. The contest brought together over 100 innovative solutions on how to enhance the Bank’s business processes, and its capacity to serve its clients. The Bank’s 2016 “Oscar winners of innovation” – as Adesina described the five award-winning ideas – were “E-Bank”, an electronic solution to digital document workflow aimed at achieving a paperless and environment friendly work environment; the establishment of a nursery in the Bank’s premises to provide childcare for mothers with young children; the development of a new leadership model; the development of gender and diaspora bonds; and “From black to green”, a proposal to reduce the Bank’s carbon footprint.

The INNOPitch 2016 idea competition focused on areas such as: expanding the Bank’s business and growing income; accelerating the Bank’s delivery and improving business processes; improving the Bank’s global branding and relations with member states; improving the work environment and staff performance; and mainstreaming gender in the Bank’s operations. 

With the tagline, “Be the Change you want to see in the Bank”, the Bank’s innovation platform serves as a vehicle to drive change. It mobilised over 60 percent of the Bank’s employees who actively participated in the solution seeking process by submitting, voting and commenting on the ideas forwarded.

Over 4,200 staff votes and 1,250 comments were shared through the platform, enhancing a spirit of staff engagement and collaboration. “INNOPitch has pushed the Bank’s boundaries in terms of innovation and staff engagement by empowering all employees, irrespective of their grade, function or location, to work together as ‘one Bank’, and shape the future of our institution”, said Emanuele Santi, AfDB’s Lead Strategy Advisor and coordinator of the initiative.

The INNOPitch initiative is aligned with the Bank’s new Development and Business Delivery Model, which aims at enhancing efficiency and driving culture change that is focused on empowering staff. 

Launched in March 2016, the INNOPitch platform attracted over 100 ideas. “INNOPitch gave me the courage to dare more, the opportunity to reach out and build a team across departmental boundaries”, said Miriame Boko-Agaud, author and team leader of the E-Bank idea, which won a top award.

The five winning ideas will be implemented across the Bank with the support of key departments. 


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