Tapping internal talent: Staff engagement lessons from AfDB

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 26 July 2016

INNOPitch winners with African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina. Photo by: African Development Bank

Two years ago, Miriame Boko-Agaud set a goal: digitize workflows and activities within the African Development Bank’s IT Department to eliminate the overwhelming piles of paper on her desk.

At the time, the bank was moving to its original headquarters in Abidjan, and Boko-Agaud, administrative assistant at the bank’s IT department, was drowning in hard copies of back-to-office reports and memos. A simple online application, she realized, could reduce the bank’s use of paper and allow her to easily retrieve documents and implement a smoother workflow on requests.

She found a partner in Jonathan Baleguel, senior solutions developer at the bank, who believed in her idea and helped her develop a portal they later rolled out in the IT department. But outside of IT, bank employees continued to file reports in different formats, and to transfer files in hard copies or individual emails.

The opportunity to take her idea to scale came in March 2016, when the bank’s strategy department announced an internal innovation challenge called INNOPitch. The ask was to share an idea to improve the bank’s business operations.

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About the author

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Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.

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