International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Kenya Red Cross

IFRC | Solferino Academy


American Red Cross

The Netherlands Red Cross

Italian Red Cross
International Center for Humanitarian Affairs
Australian Red Cross
Spanish Red Cross
Ecuadorian Red Cross
GlobalDisasterPreparedness Center

Global Disaster Preparedness Center

Norwegian Red Cross

Climate Centre

Over three days in Nairobi, Kenya from June 26th to 28th 2023, we embarked on an unforgettable journey to explore the power of innovation and how it can help us transform our National Societies and our Network. 

With the rapidly changing world we live in, the need for responsive and adaptive National Societies has never been greater.

At the IFRC Global Innovation Summit, we brought together changemakers, thought leaders, and experts from around the world to share inspiring ideas, experiences, and insights. This immersive experience allowed us to investigate the changes we need to make to be more fit for present and future challenges, and the role that innovation plays.


The Summit focused on creating a space for learning and connection. We wanted participants feeling relaxed and comfortable with each other and the environment at the Summit. 

To help facilitate this, before the Summit, they were able to opt-in to join our unique Randomised Coffee Trials where they were matched each week randomly with another person also attending the Summit and asked to have a 20 minutes chat with each other that week.

At the Summit itself we had many opportunities to connect and discuss participants’ work with colleagues in a mix of workshops and more informal settings. For instance on the afternoon of the first day they have been invited to an adventure amidst the many animals of the Nairobi National Park Safari Walk, followrd by a special African dinner.

There were also other great activities available to help participants get to meet colleagues from around the world including meals with special regional cuisines, live music, hidden challenges and Masai markets.

Participants could also enjoy 97 sessions exploring innovation, leadership, change and the future of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

    “Our Top Five Must See Sessions”

    Each week before the summit we published a selection of five sessions we recommend you don’t miss at the IFRC Global Innovation Summit.  Access the full Agenda here. 

    Top Five Sessions #5 – Digital Edition

    Humanitech Lab Showcase: Transforming humanitarian response through technology

    Humanitech, Australian Red Cross

    Discover how Australian Red Cross is transforming humanitarian response through its Humanitech Lab and the power of technology, collaborating with start-ups and communities to test, pilot, and scale new approaches to humanitarian service delivery. See innovations in climate change, disaster response, migration and First Nations well-being.

    VR-based Disaster Preparedness Education for Teenagers on the Metaverse Platform

    Asia Pacific Disaster Resilience Center

    Explore the convergence of Virtual Reality (VR) and the metaverse platform in disaster preparedness education. Learn how Asia Pacific Disaster Resilience Center is leveraging these technologies to create immersive and engaging experiences for youth.

    Youth Innovation Games

    Mena Youth Network, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center

    Join interactive sessions across the world where youth unite to explore innovative ideas for addressing climate change risks. Through fun activities, unlock your creativity, learn from others, and spark ideas for a sustainable future, with particular attention to the mental health dimensions of humanitarian challenges.

    Research for action: planning humanitarian aid based on evidence

    Argentine Red Cross (Spanish)

    Discover the Humanitarian Observatory of the Argentine Red Cross. Includes; Building innovation through the generation of our own data; information collection methods to enhance surveys, analysing personal data and monitoring public social networks and; Presenting global research led by the Observatory in 90 countries.

    What kind of an innovator are you?

    British Red Cross

    Embark on a journey of discovery with Innovation expert Ben Ramalingam as he explores the fundamental aspects of creativity and innovation amidst high-pressure and crisis scenarios. Uncover the 6 unique archetypes of humanitarian innovators, unveil your own preferred styles and explore ways to apply them to your processes and projects.

    Top Five Sessions #4 – Hybrid Edition

    Future of Assistance in Crisis and Disasters

    IFRC, Canadian Red Cross

    You can help us explore the future of assistance in the context of migration! We’ll share some future scenarios where we support migrants with a whole human approach across cash, non-food items, and services to support a more inclusive and efficient system.

    Re-imagining Impact — Client-Centred Education Design

    Kenya Red Cross

    Learn how to innovatively redefine power in your community by applying a zero-cost strategy to capacity, that alleviates vulnerability and fosters self-determination.

    Robotica Prototype — AI & the community health worker

    Norwegian Red Cross, IFRC

    Community healthcare workers are the local health champions globally. How can artificial intelligence support this unique & growing workforce in epidemic preparedness?

    How can technology empower volunteers and supercharge volunteering?

    British Red Cross, Kenya Red Cross

    How can technology enable and connect volunteers and make it easier to organise volunteering activities. We will share our experiences and set out what we think are the essential ingredients in the rollout of digital products

    Personalization = Dignity

    510, Netherlands Red Cross, IFRC

    How will we equitably and safely engage the next billion and connect our network to improve data products and digital services? We will hear reflections from world-renowned author Payal Arora and discuss digital engagement technology solutions, challenges, and a roadmap for change

    Top Five Sessions #3

    Driving Change Forward: Leadership Perspectives on Transformation

    Presidents and Secretaries General from diverse National Societies including Costa Rica and Lesotho

    Exploring complex questions related to leadership, change, and the future of the network. Strategies in driving transformations will be discussed, focusing on the attributes, skills, and behaviors necessary for transformative change. Conditions for a thriving culture of innovation, including factors influencing the success or failure of initiatives, such as context, leadership, resources, risk appetite, and of course, luck.

    Lessons from Innovating in Volunteering Models

    Red Cross Society of China, Bangladesh Red Crescent, Philippines Red Cross

    Explore with us three very different experiences of new approaches to volunteer engagement.  From Chatbots and digital trainings, to a paradigm shift of community-led solutions and innovation, to a systems wide transformation of volunteer management. Get insights, reflections and learning on the results of these efforts and importantly, the challenges.

    Pop-Up; The sound of innovation

    Italian Red Cross

    POP-up tells the journey started two years ago by the Italian Red Cross towards a unique strategic framework on innovation. The session will explore the design process of the strategy, the players involved, the challenges faced and the methodology used to identify the axes of change, based on the Theory of Change approach. Hear this “innovation melody that we have composed” including practical examples, projects and solutions already implemented in the innovation field and how they are affecting change in the wider organisation.

    Innovative Finance – what is it? And what’s in it for National Societies?

    The Humanitarian Innovative Finance Hub (Hosted by Danish Red Cross)

    Innovative financing mechanisms represent new opportunities to rethink how we finance and structure our services and NSs. This session will provide a basic introduction into mechanisms such as blended finance, results-based finance, crisis risk financing, funds and facilities, debt, equity, insurance, and impact investing. We will also dive into specific solutions for: programs for migrants and refugees; health programming and; disaster response operations

    The Circular Economy: NS projects fighting the environmental crisis, reduce plastic waste, while building livelihoods and youth engagement?


    What role could National Societies play, working with communities to address the problem of plastic pollution, while generating small-scale livelihood opportunities and engaging youth and volunteers? Join us as we profile several National Societies’ pilot initiatives in Kenya, Vietnam and Panama; whilst also exploring an innovation to manage solid waste and generate energy in emergency contexts.

    Top Five Sessions #2

    Revolutionising Healthcare Delivery

    The Saudi Red Crescent Authority

    Virtual hospitals, innovation enablement centers, and telemedicine are transforming the way we deliver health services across borders. Cutting-edge technologies are making it easier for patients to receive care from anywhere in the world, improving patient outcomes while reducing costs for both patients and providers. We showcase real-world examples of these technologies and share insights on best practices for adoption within your own organization. This is a thought provoking session on the future of healthcare in the Red Cross and Red Crescent and beyond.

    Building the National Society of the Future

    Ecuador Red Cross, Honduras Red Cross and Hong Kong Red Cross Branch of the Red Cross Society of China

    Explore three very different stories of National Societies transforming three different areas of work; digital transformation, volunteer-driven innovation and advocacy/humanitarian diplomacy. These three diverse NSs will share in a dynamic session the challenges and learnings they have experienced while attempting new approaches to solving problems and their impacts on wider change in the organisation.

    Innovation in Volunteer Management and Education to Confront with Climate Change

    Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran

    Iranian Red Crescent has almost 1 million volunteers but are constantly searching for new ways to engage young people. We have developed an approach that focuses on climate change and helping our youth volunteers develop innovative projects to address these challenges at scale. Organised through an engaging platform, we use gamification, creative approaches to education and a unique time bank concept that promotes a kind of circular giving where you can give and benefit at the same time. The program has shown promising results and we will share our experience of developing and implementing it.

    From Preparedness to Resilience: Adapting to Evolving Crises and Disasters

    Turkish Red Crescent

    Join our session to gain insight into how the Turkish Red Crescent deals with disasters in Turkiye.  We offer an opportunity to not only hear about how innovation helped us enhance our responsiveness but also practical examples of how this can be applied in differing settings and insights into how to evolve our traditional approaches to response.

    Digital Transformation at scale – combining machine learning, data science, and automation for maximum impact!

    American Red Cross

    From blood product collections to disaster needs to cash flow management, the ARC is addressing many of its most pressing challenges with an intense focus on digital transformation. Learn how the ARC finds problems to solve, ensures return on investment, designs, builds, tests, iterates and measures for impact.
    Hundreds of problem statements have yielded more than 50 implemented products in just a few short years from apps to best-in-class machine learning and data science models.

    Advanced Humanitarian Technologies for Adaptation and Mitigation in Climate Change

    Japanese Red Cross

    This session profiles design approaches for humanitarian technologies including the world’s first medical fuel cell vehicle created by the Japanese Red Cross Kumamoto Hospital and Toyota which reduces emissions and supplies electricity in emergencies. We also discuss the development and deployment of a portable flush toilet with a water-recycle system, the application of AI based real-time monitoring of mobile phone location data for road planning and emergencies, and medical cargo drones supporting medical logistics in both peacetime and emergencies.

    Top Five Sessions #1

    Best Practices for how to approach accepting crypto donations in crypto currency

    British Red Cross

    We explore issues such as due diligence, finding trusted partners, and how to create a crypto donor engagement strategy without any public marketing. We’ll also show how our journey started when faced with the challenge of accepting a 500k Crypto currency donation.

    Diamonds are forever?

    Botswana Red Cross

    Your mission is to safeguard the Botho Diamond, the world’s most valuable artefact. Return the Botho diamond to its rightful owners by working together as a team to solve a series of challenging puzzles and riddles. Follow the clues, think critically and along the way reflect on our current ways of working.

    Digital and Dignified Identities in The Humanitarian Context

    Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan Red Cross and IFRC

    DIGID solution aims to provide digital wallets as functional identities to people in the context of migration and displacement, to provide eligibility during humanitarian aid e.g CVA and Health interventions.

    The session will focus on sharing cross border and interoperability experiences through simulations and demos.

    From Preparedness to Resilience: Adapting to Evolving Crises and Disasters

    Turkish Red Crescent

    Join our session to gain insight into how the Turkish Red Crescent deals with disasters in Turkiye.  We offer an opportunity to not only hear about how innovation helped us enhance our responsiveness but also practical examples of how this can be applied in differing settings and insights into how to evolve our traditional approaches to response.

    REDpreneur your NS! Creating RC Businesses for Social Impact and Financial Sustainability

    Austrian Red Cross

    Explore social business opportunities for sustainable income and lasting social impact. Identify core problems solvable through Red Cross businesses and create mini-business plans using the REDpreneur methodology. Gain a deeper understanding of how to leverage social business models for improved financial sustainability and long-term service delivery.

    Who Attended


    • Innovation professionals within the network responsible for building innovation within their organisation
    • Those responsible for leading change and organisational development and transformation efforts within National Societies
    • Thematic leads/management who are interested in innovation and rethinking their work
    • Leadership at all levels
    • Staff and volunteers implementing innovative programs or looking for new approaches to their work.

    Types of

    • Keynotes and talks on leadership, negotiation, behaviour change, surprising innovators, methodologies and tools, case studies, and personal experiences;
    • Interactive deep dive workshops led by National Societies and external experts;
    • Peer idea and creation spaces for designing/prototyping, innovation demos, and mentoring;
    • Games, experiential design sessions, pitching sessions
    • Specific tracks for thematic areas.

    A Unique Experience

    The summit was an experience like no other! Our team worked closely with Solferino Academy alumni and innovation leaders from National Societies to create an unforgettable event that inspired, helped participants learn, have unusual experiences and creative opportunities to discuss and think through new approaches to their work. 

    We know that too often conferences/summits are jam packed with meetings and presentations and not enough time to just talk with others attending, (how often have you thought the coffee breaks were the best part of the meeting?!), so we had a lineup of fun activities that helped participants connect with their peers from around the world in a creative and relaxed environment. 

    It was a one-of-a-kind festival experience that helped participants come back to work with fresh ideas and new exciting connections!