Visual lexicon on innovation: the world of GIFs
UNHCR’s Innovation Service is developing and testing a visual lexicon to facilitate conversation among UNHCR colleagues about the highs and lows of innovating in the organization. The visual lexicon encompasses GIFs, stickers (both animated and static) and memes, which are images used to express emotion or an idea in electronic communication.
The Innovation Service has developed eight GIFs that reflect various aspects of innovating within UNHCR’s work. The Innovation Service has captured experiences ranging from leaving your comfort zone and getting support from unlikely places to being overloaded by information and the feelings associated with change and growth. Innovation is messy and non-linear, and we hope these GIFs can help UNHCR convey those complexities in new and accessible ways.
As much as innovation can be great, it can also be scary and expose the insecurities and uncertainty we hold as individuals, groups and organizations. This GIF represents the fear that comes from innovation, as it can fall on us and make us feel overwhelmed, even if it is a refreshing splash of new ideas.
Innovating can be challenging for a variety of reasons, including how it challenges us to rethink our own assumptions, priorities and ideas. This GIF represents how this internal growth can result in us feeling brighter and bolder when trying new things.
Support from an unlikely place
Innovation doesn’t happen in a bubble. Innovation thrives when others are included and given space to reflect on and improve our ideas and solutions. Collaboration allows us to innovate boldly, in ways that we may never have thought possible. This GIF represents support from an unlikely supporter, and highlights that every one of us has unique strengths that allow us to be bold together.
There are times when we feel out of place and that our ideas are perceived as odd. We know that diversity and inclusion are key to solving complex challenges, but sometimes it feels like our own identities are at odds with those around us. This GIF represents the fear and uncertainty of being in an environment where we feel outnumbered by a dominant group, worldview or set of norms.
No conductor, but there is music
When we work on something new, we often combine different ideas and people together. This can lead to the emergence of new (and sometimes unexpected) behaviours unique to that team and context. This GIF represents how these unexpected, ‘emergent behaviours’ can result in great things.
Difficulty measuring innovation
Anyone working in the creative space understands that innovation is difficult to define and measure. It is fickle, and results often can come much later than we might expect. This GIF represents the challenge of measuring innovation, emphasizing the challenges of operating when conditions continue to change and become more complex.
When we innovate, we are often working outside of our comfort zone. We confront our assumptions, biases and preconceived ideas about the world, which can be unsettling. This GIF represents that internal apprehension, but how confronting and challenging our own biases can make us happier, more curious and improve our ways of working.
We’ve all been in a situation where we want to make a decision, but it feels like there is so much information that it paralyses our decision-making process. This GIF represents that overload, and the frustration we may experience as we try to innovate in the face of overwhelming amounts of information and knowledge.
This project was made in collaboration with Jungmin Studio
Project team: UNHCR Innovation Service
Art/creative direction: UNHCR Innovation Service
Find the GIFs on giphy.com/unhcrinnovation
Find the GIFs on a Giphy integration with the keyword unhcr innovation
To connect with UNHCR’s Innovation Service, please reach out to us.