By: Allen Anie (Ghana), María Gabriela Ayala (Ecuador), Bisam Gyawali (Nepal), Zainab Kakal (Fiji), Lorena Moscovich (Argentina), Berna Mugema (Uganda), Lillian Njoro (Kenya) with inputs from the entire Experimentation network at UNDP Accelerator Labs.

Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

The UNDP Accelerator Lab Network is growing. 31 new Labs are joining the family and expanding the frontiers of our global network of ecosystems. This means 31 new Heads of Exploration, Experimentation, and Solutions Mapping are joining the pack to help us reimagine development for the 21st century. …

By Anand Upender, Design Lead, and Renae Reints, Researcher, Healthy Internet Project

The UNDP Accelerator Labs is excited to announce its collaboration with the Healthy Internet Project, incubated at TED. This partnership is piloting a bold experiment in crowdsourced moderation of the world wide web. UNDP Accelerator Labs in Argentina, Togo, Kenya, Sudan, Iraq, Morocco, Namibia, and Lebanon are leading the effort to further engage their innovation ecosystem and partners to find and address the false, misleading, or personally harmful content in their region.

The UNDP Accelerator Lab in Argentina, for example, will focus their test of the tool on…

India, Morocco, Cabo Verde, and Timor-Leste

By: Rozita Singh, Head of Solutions Mapping, UNDP India Accelerator Lab, Erika Antoine, and Angelica Gustilo Ong, UNDP Accelerator Lab Global Team

Lockdown Gaming

To reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has gone into isolation — bringing major changes to our daily lives and a new appetite for digitalization. Mandated lockdowns and social distancing interventions have led us to dramatically increase the number of hours we spend in front of our screens to work and connect to our loved ones.

Deloitte’s 2020 digital media trends survey suggests that since the beginning of the…

Written By: Angelica Gustilo Ong and Eduardo Gustale, UNDP Accelerator Labs Global Team

Engin Akyurt via Pexels

With only a decade of action left for the sustainable development agenda, UNDP is looking beyond business as usual, to accelerate learning, to find new mechanisms to learn from the margins, and to look into radically new approaches that fit the complexity of current development challenges.

One of those new approaches is learning from women and men, who have managed to solve problems through ingenuity but with simple, frugal means.

Take Made Kusuma, an environmental health graduate from Bali, who was frustrated by the numerous floods caused…

Copyright: Photo by Hans M on Unsplash

Many of us in the sustainable development trenches know that to reach the Global Goals set by governments of the world we need to tap into collective action. Even under steady conditions — which is pretty far from where we are — the Sustainable Development Goals call for wholesale transformation of the behavior of almost 8 billion people on the planet.

Whether or not these goals will be a success story by 2030 depends on how all of us make our living, grow food, heat and cool our homes, and move around in the world…how we store digital data, charge…

By Jeremy Boy, Data Scientist, UNDP Accelerator Labs together with Andreas Gluecker, Project Manager, GIZ Data Lab.

For more details on the project background, please read the first blog on this series “Launching the Data Powered Positive Deviance Initiative” written by our partners from the Data Powered Positive Deviance DPPD initiative.

Satellite image of land cover classification in Joya de los Sachas in Ecuador (2020)

At the beginning of 2020, the UNDP Accelerator Labs Network kicked-off a set of exciting pilots with the GIZ Data Lab of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and with the technical support from the University of Manchester, to explore the potential of Data Powered Positive Deviance (DPPD) for sustainable development.

Together with the UNDP Accelerator Labs and GIZ projects in Ecuador, Mexico, Niger, and…

Written by: Eric von Hippel, MIT Sloan School of Management

Innovations in the informal sector can take many forms. Nelplast ECO Ghana Ltd turns plastic into pavement blocks. Photo: UNDP Ghana/Gaby Conrad

What the UNDP Accelerator Lab network is putting into place for the first time is a systematic process to identify and support promising innovations in the “informal sector” of national economies. Governments and other observers of Lab activities and successes must understand that individual innovations are likely to be small. However, taken as a whole, they can have major economic effects.

The situation is similar to the Industrial Revolution. As a phenomenon, it was exceedingly important. It enabled great improvements to economic wellbeing, and major shifts in social and governmental arrangements. …

By Akshara Baru, Alexandra de Sá Moreira Treat, David Lonnberg, Eva Hoermann, Fares Taher, Mihret Moges, Zixin Yang, Columbia University SIPA

A Hands-On Scaling Strategy for the UNDP Accelerator Labs — Developed by a Team from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)


For more details on the project background, please read our first blog post “Developing a hands-on strategy around scaling social innovation for development” here.

By Berna Mugema, Head of Experimentation UNDP Accelerator Lab Uganda and Lillian Njoro, Head of Experimentation UNDP Accelerator Lab Kenya

Mobile information — Man in Marsabit. ©UNDP Kenya/Amunga Eshuchi

Recognising the similar contexts between Kenya and Uganda, we were inspired to explore and map together, the role of mobile money in the pandemic response. Including how mobile money can support social distancing efforts and how it can be a vehicle for implementing cash transfers and mutual aid schemes. We believe that mobile money in East Africa will continue to play an integral role even as we shift into the Recover phase of the COVID-19 response.

By Basma Saeed, Head of Solutions Mapping, UNDP Accelerator Lab Sudan

This blog is the latest installment in a three-part series taking an in-depth look at the new ways of working within the UNDP Accelerator Labs. Check out the “what we talk about” series on Exploration and Experimentation.

Field interviews with vocational workers in Khartoum, Sudan made me understand their critical role in providing a lifeline for the poorest children of the city dropping out of school. ©Basma Saeed

The Three ‘I’s in the life a UNDP Accelerator Lab Solution Mapper

“Something interesting, something inspiring, something intriguing”

This is how Professor Anil Gupta of the Honey Bee Network, a grass-roots innovation network and knowledge partner of UNDP Accelerator Labs, described how Solutions Mappers like myself should approach problem-solving.

The 3 ‘I’s: intriguing, interesting and inspiring solutions

Intriguing solutions are those that, when observed, make you wonder ‘why did they do that?’. You see something happening, but you don’t immediately understand the need…

UNDP Accelerator Labs

Building the world’s largest learning network around development challenges. 91 Labs in 115 countries.

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