Moving at the speed of trust: the juicy fruits of collaboration and persistence

18 de Septiembre de 2022


It is well known that together we go further, but the truth is that generating a coalition of allies is not an easy task, especially if it is meant to last over time.


Working as a network


Three years ago, we started to map the innovation ecosystem in Ecuador to identify what other actors were working on, and how they were doing it. Nevertheless, we did not only want to generate a map of actors, but rather build a set of tools that will allow the so-called “innovation ecosystem” to act, move and behave like one. The perfect image is to think of a cloud of points becoming an organized “being” where actors are communicated and related to each other.



So, we started having discussions with other actors from the innovation ecosystem to understand how this set of tools should look like. Once we collected their needs and co-disigned how the tools should function, we went even further. We decided to come up with a strategy to contribute to the articulation of the innovation ecosystem, since we doubt it that a set of tools will do the job of real human connections.


Thus, we did two things:


  1. On the one hand, we developed a platform called Thinkia – innovation lab where actors can map their innovative initiatives, learnt about funding opportunities, and have access to a long list of materials and resources to learn about innovation methods and techniques. Thinkia is a collaborative platform built by several active members.




2. On the other hand, we invited diverse voices from the academia, civil society, public and private sector to join UNDP´s effort to use open innovation as an instrument for development. How exactly we did that, we created a multisector group of actors to manage Thinkia and to launch innovation challenges (also known as hackathons) based on a demand-driven approach. This meant that the objective of every innovation challenge fostered by Thinkia was based on the needs and work of other actors that could profit and benefit from what we could offer. Thinkia main principle of action is collaboration.


Activating the network


We have done so far five innovation challenges led by different partners, tapping on all sorts of wicked issues, and making use of an array of innovation methods being design thinking the most used. Bellow there is a quick snapshot of all the hard work.