About Us

What and Who is behind the Collaborative Innovators appraoch? Here you find all information on our project and the team behind everything.

What is Collaborative Innovation?

Collaborative Innovation brings actors with different perspectives and skills together in fostering innovation for the Public good. The beauty of Collaborative Innovation is that both sides can focus on their core strengths and complement each other on the weaknesses.

The Collaborative Innovators’ approach aims at supporting Public Sector organizations and Startups to jointly innovate or adapt externally developed Startup innovations to the needs of public service delivery.

In doing so, the approach fosters a trustful cooperation relationship and long-term scaling path for the Startup innovation.

Why collaborate to innovate?

Today's and tomorrow's problems ranging from improving healthcare to fighting climate change require agile and innovative solutions. Startups can not only offer the Public Sector access to innovative products and services but also, given their character as dynamic and young firm, are generally more flexible to work with the needs of the Public Sector and adapt their solution to these.

While Startups need reliable and financially potent customers, the Public Sector needs access to new ideas and the knowledge on how to digitalize public service delivery, especially through deploying innovative solutions in the field of future technologies.

By cooperating, Startups can bring their user-focus, iterative and agile working culture and their technical knowledge to a partner, that has a rich set of use cases and can provide the opportunity to scale the Startup’s solution. By joining forces, Startups and the Public Sector can combine their complementary strengths to develop solutions that work at the required pace, scale and depth.

How to kick-off cooperation with Startups?

Providing the right framework and enabling conditions is key for a partnership, as most collaborations between Startups and the Public Sector fail before they even begin. Entering into Collaborative Innovation partnerships requires a mutual understanding of differences and similarities between Public Sector entities and Startups. This understanding is to prepare a common basis that allows to exploit the advantages of this innovative partnership.

The Collaboration Phase is where the real magic happens: Based on the readiness of the Public Sector partner and the preparatory steps taken before, this phase comprises a facilitated adaptation and integration process of the Startup innovation in the service delivery of the Public Sector. In a program-based approach, the Public Sector and the Startups are supported in building a joint solution and long term partnership.

The Collaborative Innovator’s Toolkit encompasses concrete innovation methods for these two phases that can be used by Startups, Public Sector entities and supporting organizations like facilitators of innovation processes in their specific ecosystems. For further more information:

Our Project

The project Fostering Collaborative Innovation for digital Transformation was implemented from 2018 to March 2021 as GIZ financed measure to explore the possibilities of increased Startup – Public Sector cooperation especially in the light of the digital transformation and its impact on public service delivery. Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector is still in its infancy, and it requires to be further explored. We hope to have gained some new supporters around the world that are eager to start and develop their mechanisms for collaboration. We are always open to feedback and would love to engage in a conversation with you, if you are planning to or have already made progress in some sort of Collaborative Innovation projects.

Timo Müller

Timo is advisor for digital Innovation and Public Sector – Startup cooperation at GIZ. In his function, Timo advises projects around the world on how the Public Sector can leverage digital innovation to improve its service delivery in different sectors. Timo is a strong supporter of Collaborative Innovation and strives to always develop new innovation methods to facilitate sustainable partnerships between Startups and the Public Sector.

Felix Krause

Felix is an advisor for innovation management at GIZ. He designs and facilitates different innovation and collaboration formats. For example, until recently he led the companies´ innovation program for intrapreneurs, the GIZ Innovation Fund, which supports staff worldwide to design their innovative ideas in collaboration with Startups and the Public Sector. Felix enjoys being a translator for these different worlds.

Christian Gmelin

For more than ten years, Christian has worked for the GIZ, advising the projects on how to best raise the innovative potential of a digital society. He is a digitalo and is passionate about collaborative innovation: he seeks to work with unlikely allies who share a similar vision but take different paths to get there.

GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit

GIZ is a service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education work. We are dedicated to shaping a future worth living around the world. Together with our commissioning parties and partners, we generate and implement ideas for political, social and economic change.

Let`s Talk

Do you have questions, comments or recommendations about the Collaborative Innovator's approach or our Toolkit? Send us an email at collaborative-innovators@giz.de.