UNAIDS Office of Innovation: Changing the Landscape of Healthcare Innovation

Published 17 Mar 2023
Reference 6803
Region Global
Length 18 page(s)
Language English

In September 2020, Pradeep Kakkattil was facing difficult questions about his team’s strategic direction. In the two years since he had founded the Office of Innovation at UNAIDS – the United Nations agency for coordinating global action on AIDS – the team had grown from two people to six and had established over 100 partnerships globally. With a dual goal to make UNAIDS more innovative and drive innovation in healthcare worldwide, their flagship initiative, the Health Innovation Exchange platform, had brought together innovators, investors/donors and government partners to support innovation in healthcare. Yet Pradeep, as director, felt they had failed to overhaul UNAIDS internal culture and processes, prompting him to to question the existing strategy and structure of an innovation unit within such a bureaucratic organization. UNAIDS was itself undergoing strategic changes aimed at decentralizing operations and focusing on gender issues. How would his team fit into the restructured organization, and if it could not, what were their options?

Teaching objectives

Although many bureaucratic organizations make efforts to establish a culture conducive to innovation, managers of their innovation units can be confronted by major challenges. Not only must they drive innovation (often in the face of much resistance) but also learn how to structure innovation in the organization to achieve scale. Strategic alignment and governance are essential to survive and succeed in a context of constant evolution. Students step into the shoes of a director of an Innovation unit who needs to reformulate its strategy and structure and ultimately determine how the team fits within a particularly bureaucratic organization, itself undergoing reform. The case prompts discussion of topics such as incentivizing internal innovation, driving culture change, leading through times of change, and platform building for innovation.

  • Organizational Design
  • Structuring Innovation
  • Innovation Units
  • International Organizations
  • United Nations
  • Global Health
  • Activities
  • Governance
  • Technology
  • Non-Profit
  • Health Innovation Exchange
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Stakeholders
  • Q12023
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