Accelerator Lab

Accelerator Lab

Status                            Ongoing

Project start date          December 2020

Focus area                    Innovation and new approaches for addressing complex development issues

Project office                UNDP Mongolia

Funded by                    The Federal Republic of Germany

                                      Qatar Fund for Development

                                      UNDP Core Partners

Action Partners            Nesta

                                      Lead User Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

                                      Ministero dell’Ambiente e dellaTutela del Territorio e del Mare 

 

Background

UNDP is approaching development differently as the speed, dynamics, and complexity of today’s challenges are fundamentally different from even twenty years ago. We are creating a new capability for decision makers to explore, experiment, and grow portfolios of mutually reinforcing solutions to tackle today’s challenges.

In 2019, UNDP built the world’s largest and fastest learning network on sustainable development challenges. It started with 60 Lab teams covering 78 countries and now there are 92 Labs covering 116 countries. 

Embedded in UNDP’s country office, the Accelerator Labs are teams that provide national partners with a set of new services to better tackle complex sustainable development problems. The success of the Lab will be seen in three ways: influence of experimentation and acceleration on development programming, input into government policy, and spin-offs of Lab initiatives into independent ventures.

 

Objectives

Accelerator Lab teams are helping UNDP and partners close the gap between the current practices of international development and an accelerated pace of change. To do this, the Labs are creating new service lines in development that are open‑ended and safe to fail. The Lab network does this by iterating in a cycle of sensing, exploring, testing and growing.

Accelerator Labs identify, test, and pilot innovative grassroots solutions to a portfolio of complex challenges spanning poverty alleviation, climate action, and accountable governance. As a global platform, the Accelerator Labs form an agile network that learns what works and what doesn’t work for sustainable development problems.  It rapidly translates insights into actions across dozens of countries.

Expected Results

The Country Accelerator Labs will achieve the following results:

Output 1: UNDP Country Offices and partners will have increased capability for scanning, sensemaking and experimentation for sustainable development solutions in through 92 labs in 116 countries.

Output 2: New sustainable development solutions will be scaled at country level as part of UNDP’s country programme and operations, national policy and/or local markets.

Output 3: A core global objective is to have the global learning and scaling network established and functioning.