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The Institute for Large Scale Innovation (ILSI) is a NGO whose mission is to help define, coordinate and drive the innovation agendas of regions, nations, and the global system. While the traditional focus of the innovation field has been the private enterprise, countries, regions and cities have struggled to define the innovation strategies in the absence of standards, best practices and stewardship models. Our goal is to refocus attention on the large scale, i.e. societal, innovation agenda. 

While the need for fresh innovation approaches continues for individual enterprises, it is even more acute at the level of global civil society, where the complexity of today’s challenges – e.g., sustainability, education, water, security, disease – exceeds the abilities of any individual government, corporation or not-for-profit organization. Managing and meeting these challenges requires collaboration and fresh approaches to the stewardship of innovation at a global level. Accordingly, the work of the ILSI revolves around several fundamental questions: 

  •  How can innovation be fostered most effectively at a societal scale (global, national, regional, urban)?
  •  How can innovation capability be developed to address complex global challenges?
  •  How can we build a global community of practice, influence and stewardship for innovation?

As our societies confront unprecedented disruption and turmoil, innovation is emerging as the core to both addressing our challenges and creating new opportunities. This new context requires the development of a new set of innovation capabilities – tools, skills and practices – that can serve the public interest at multiple scales.

A key goal of ILSI has been to create and support a unique and influential community of national “chief innovation officers” – the i20, who currently represent 41 countries. This network now includes such countries as China, India, the United States, Japan, Brazil, The United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Australia, Singapore, Chile, Thailand, and Rwanda. I20 members are individuals with high visibility who are responsible for setting and driving the innovation agenda of their country.

ILSI is developing digital technologies to support innovation collaboration at scale, driving new pedagogical standards in innovation leadership development, and synthesizing best and promising practices for large scale innovation. Its ultimate objective is to raise the level and quality of innovation practice worldwide.

ILSI’s approach is relevant to the practical needs of both public and private sectors. Understanding the dynamics of global innovation and how to capitalize on global innovation flows must be a central concern of both public and private organizations going forward.

The Institute for Large Scale Innovation acknowledges and applauds the corporate support of the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC) of Abu Dhabi, Deloitte LLP in enabling the launch of this initiative, and the continued sponsorship of Cisco Systems as our global collaboration and technology partner.