Dr. Amy Kircher and Erin Mann recently returned home from participating in a week long “boot camp” at the World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator in Munich. FPDI has collaborated with WFP and other organizations over the past year on a project to improve medical supply chain visibility and resilience during public health emergencies. The exciting work to date has included the development of a conceptual framework for a Pandemic Supply Chain Information Platform. This framework outlined existing technologies and tools to support public health preparedness and response. The framework relies on contributions from a wide range of stakeholders including WFP, the World Health Organization (WHO), GS1, NEC, and FPDI as well as invaluable data and expertise from the private sector and the humanitarian community.
The goal of the boot camp was to help bring our concept to life by defining a common and concrete vision, focusing the scope, identifying users, business requirements, core functionalities, and information flows, and agreeing on tangible next steps. The week was expertly facilitated by staff from the Innovation Accelerator office in Munich. The Accelerator is a creative, collaborative and fast-paced environment that invites the private sector, civil society and WFP entrepreneurs to tackle humanitarian and development challenges together. They use innovative techniques and human-centered design to improve project sustainability and increase the likelihood of success.
The week was filled with exciting conversations, healthy and friendly debates, and an impressive use of white boards, wall pads, and post-it notes. Dr. Kircher and Ms. Mann left the boot camp with a number of wins, including a clear vision for the platform: An eco-system that will connect people, systems, data and protocols to deliver critical supplies during a disease outbreak. They also left with a road map for a prototype by next summer and a clear set of next steps to meet our ambitious goal.
Thank you to the WFP Innovation Accelerator staff for their patience, humor, and expertise during our time in Munich. And thank you as always to our colleagues from WFP, WHO, GS1, and NEC all of whom are critical pieces of the Pandemic Supply Chain Information Platform. FPDI looks forward to collaborating over the next several months.