Innovation in Action: Leading Change and Transformation

The event marks the commencement of a broader initiative that will reshape policies, practices, and perceptions in the public sector of Armenia. It serves as the catalyst for a vibrant community of innovative professionals in the public and municipal sectors, empowering them to lead change and usher in a new era of transformation.

December 5, 2023

Natia Natsvlishvili, UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, welcoming the forum participants

UNDP in Armenia

Yerevan, 05 December 202– The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Armenia, through its SDG Innovation Lab and Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) facility, funded by the European Union, today hosted the second Public Sector Innovation Forum. The event marks the inauguration of the Community of Public Sector Innovation Practitioners, with the aim of igniting a transformative shift in the mindset and practices of public and municipal servants.

The stage welcomed representatives of the Government of Armenia, donor community, various UN institutions, public and private sectors, academia, civil society organizations, and public sector innovators, all united by a shared mission: to be the vanguards of innovation and positive change. 

The event featured addresses by the Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, H.E. Mr. Ambassador Vassilis Maragos, UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, Natia Natsvlishvili.

H.E. Mr. Vassilis Maragos Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia mentioned: “I wish to commend the Government of Armenia for its commitment to reforms and to strengthening democratic institutions. As we move forward with our partnership we should work together to build the capacities needed to implement our joint agenda, including when it comes to strengthening the rule of law and the digital and green transformation in the service of Armenian citizens. Emphasizing our collaboration with UNDP, particularly in championing innovation-driven transformation in Armenia, I highly appreciate this Forum, organized by UNDP SDG Innovation Lab and the EU's initiative “Mayors for Economic Growth” implemented by UNDP. I welcome in particular the presence of local authorities. This not only marks our collaboration in the fields of innovation and urban transformation but also creates valuable collaboration opportunities between government and non-government stakeholders aligning with our goals to promote an innovation ecosystem in Armenia.”

During her opening speech, Natia Natsvlishvili, UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, underscored the pressing necessity for innovative solutions in a world marked by constant change and unforeseen challenges. She stressed, “UNDP in Armenia is dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of the public sector through provision of cutting-edge tools and innovative skills, fostering evidence-based and people-centric policymaking. Our commitment extends to leading digital transformation, instigating reforms, championing transformative agendas, and ushering in urban revitalization. By nurturing community-based learning of innovative policymaking practices, our objective is to address urgent issues and collaboratively generate ideas with our stakeholders, thereby ensuring an inclusive and human-centered transformation in the public sector." 

The forum offered a diverse tapestry of knowledge, ranging from leadership in turbulent times to the strategic art of communication, and from the role of innovation as a catalyst for change to the intricacies of crisis management. Leaders, thinkers, and doers from various backgrounds converged to explore the trends, dynamics, and challenges associated with change and crisis.

Giulio Quaggiotto, Strategic Innovation Adviser for the UAE Prime Minister’s Office, highlighted portfolio approaches to innovation and the integration of grassroots innovations into national systems. Elsa Belo, Director of Portugal's LabX Center for Innovation in the Public Sector, emphasized the importance of institutionalizing innovation in her keynote. She shared insights from their organizational change efforts and strategies for fostering an innovative public service community. 

This event signified the launch of a comprehensive initiative aimed at reshaping policies, practices, and perspectives, with the aim of instigating profound transformation within the public sector. Tigran Tshorokhyan, UNDP in Armenia’s Innovation and SDG Finance Portfolio Lead officially inaugurated the Community of Public Sector Innovation Practitioners. 

This community would enable the sharing of best practices, incubation of experimental projects, training, tool development, and events to engage Armenia's innovation ecosystem, fostering informed decision-making and collective creativity to address public organizations' challenges. It serves as a platform to unite innovative thinkers, bridging public sector expertise with academic and civil society knowledge to bring about change through innovation.

During the second part of the event, participants engaged in interactive and engaging breakout sessions, marking the first official event of the public sector innovators community. These workshops served as a platform to assess the needs of public servants in terms of community building and collective learning, as well as to generate ideas for the future activities of the community.

To delve deeper into the realm of public sector innovation trends and challenges, a panel discussion featured the insights of the Mr. Vache Gabrielyan, Former DPM of the Republic of Armenia, Dean of Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics at AUA, Viktorya Aydinyan, Advisor to Deputy Prime Minister, and Nerses Yeritsyan, Head of Information Systems Agency of Armenia (ISAA).

The event was the first in a series of events celebrating and mainstreaming public sector innovation and will bridge the nation to the international stage through thematic conferences and knowledge-sharing experiences, enhancing Armenia's presence in the global innovation community. 

For additional information about the community and to become a part of it, please visit the following link.


Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) Facility is a part of the Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) initiative, launched and funded by the European Union since 2017 aiming to encourage local authorities in Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries to use innovative development methods that are both fair to all, and friendly to the environment. In line with continuous capability development, the Facility is going to provide funding opportunities for local authorities, and the communities will develop and implement their own innovative solutions to stimulate and accelerate local development․

UNDP SDG Innovation Lab is the joint initiative of the Government of Armenia and the UN that was founded in 2017 to transform policy and decision-making practices in Armenia making them more evidence-based and impactful. The Innovation Lab is actively fostering a culture of creativity and experimentation in the public sector, seeking unconventional solutions, compelling evidence, and transformative technologies. At its core, the Lab draws upon a diverse set of innovation methodologies derived from various fields such as data science, design thinking, systems thinking, digital transformation, and behavioral insights.