The changes of the 21st Century are complex and inter-related. We are seeing leaps in education, technology, connectivity and networks. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of the importance of local branches and established that a branch's ability to innovate and adapt is central to its relevance and effectiveness.

Branches that were able to adapt to a changing operational reality during the Covid-19 crisis played significant roles in mitigating the crisis in their communities. The pandemic was and continues to be an opportunity for branches to move forward in their innovation and digitalisation journey.

Tips and ideas

Branches who are developing their innovation and digitalisation in COVID time are:

Leveraging digital connection

Effective integration of technology was critical for National Societies and their branches to communicate, plan and implement activities under travel restrictions.

Ensuring security when going digital

Digitalisation is accompanied by risks, and branches must actively engage in discussions on cybersecurity issues. Educating volunteers and employees and joining networks and partnerships that can accelerate digital learning and capacities will support the process.

Starting small and improving along the way

Testing ideas, learning by doing and improving it along the way and scaling it up, were some key factors for branches to promote creativity and adapt to changing contexts. To do this, a culture of accepting imperfection, learning and adjusting from experience was essential.

There have also been some unexpected benefits from moving to online meetings. National Societies reported cost savings related to meeting online, greater participation of branches in decision making, and better attendance in general meetings and board meetings.

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