In the year 2016, it was Partos that initiated an innovation platform called The Spindle. Partos, the association of Dutch NGOs working in international development, believed that there was (and still is!) a huge innovation potential amongst the Dutch organisations and their southern partners.
Innovation is necessary more than ever, as the world in which the traditional development cooperation has emerged is changing drastically. With The Spindle, we took up the challenge to translate the abundance of ideas into innovative approaches and solutions. For 5 years, we put our enthusiasm and drive in building a community of innovators, identifying new trends, challenges as well as opportunities, and supporting the development of new ideas and promising solutions! The overall mission of The Spindle was to contribute to future-fit, effective and efficient development cooperation.
When The Spindle was established, we asked members of Partos to complete a survey on innovation in international development. Based on their proposals for areas in which they considered innovation to be most relevant, we selected four themes to concentrate our efforts on: Civic Power, News Ways of Working Together, Leave No One Behind and Making Data Count.
So, how did The Spindle get things done on their journey to achieve their mission within these four themes? Well, by using three types of interventions. First of all, we used innovation brokering which is about finding opportunities for exchange between the Dutch development cooperation sector, innovators in the Netherlands and international parties. Secondly. the most hands-on and practical intervention was piloting. We supported actors within development cooperation to pilot an innovative solution at a project or programme level. Lastly, we used the agenda-setting intervention in which we pro-actively promotes new ideas and trends towards the Dutch development cooperation sector with the aim to encourage organisations to become future-fit.
From The Spindle to Learning & Innovation
Our current work on joint learning and innovation is informed by lessons learned as part of The Spindle. For those who want to take a trip down memory lane: take a look at our “5 Years The Spindle magazine” about the results of The Spindle (2016 -2020). These were five years full of innovative projects, among which our inspiring and fully digitally organised project The Digital Journey.