Since 1997, the "La Caixa" Foundation has been promoting international cooperation programs in order to provide opportunities and improve the living conditions of vulnerable populations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Over this period of 20 years, working in partnership with different cooperation actors has brought us to a process of continuous learning and formulation of new tools and methods that enable us to improve our interventions.
For this reason, in 2016 we decided to launch the Work4Progress program. It responds to the need to rethink the way in which our organization promotes international cooperation projects, to experiment with new tools to strengthen their impact and to incorporate a new focus on social innovation.
The Work4Progress program thus supports the creation of "Open Innovation Platforms for the creation of employment in Peru, India and Mozambique" by means of collaborative partnerships between local civil society organizations, the private sector, administration, universities and Spanish NGOs.
The main innovation of this program is the incorporation of new tools and methodologies in: (1) listening and identification of community needs, (2) co-creation and prototyping of new solutions, (3) exploration of instruments for scaling, (4) governance, (5) evolving evaluation systems and (6) financing strategies. The goal of all of this is to try to incorporate innovation strategies in all its components in an integral manner.
Work4Progress has been designed with a Think and Do Tank mentality. The member organizations of the platforms are experimenting in the field, while a group of international experts helps us to obtain this knowledge and share it with centers of thought and action at an international level. In fact, this is the objective of this publication: to share the theoretical framework of the program, to connect these ideas with concrete examples and to continue to strengthen the meeting point between social innovation and development cooperation.
Work4Progress is offered as a "living lab" to test new methodologies that may be useful for other philanthropic institutions, government or entities specializing in international development.
In this publication, the manner in which its action is structured is defined as a "second operating system". The aim is not to modify the systems, procedures or devices that the international cooperation entities currently have in place, but rather to launch a complementary space that allows for the testing of new tools and procedures, which sometimes cannot be developed due to a lack of time, knowledge or financing.
W4P enables us, as an entity, to depart from the traditional framework of project financers in order to act as a facilitator or driver of innovation platforms together with other public and private partners. The Sustainable Development Goals require us to work on platforms in this manner. We need to take advantage of this opportunity.