Accelerator Lab Network

What is the initiative about?

In autumn 2019, UNDP built the world’s largest and fastest learning network on sustainable development challenges. We started with 60 Lab teams covering 78 countries and are now expanding to 91 Labs covering 115 countries. We create actionable intelligence and test solutions with national partners. We are part of UNDP’s global policy teams and country offices. Our 270 Lab team members bring bright, unusual talent into the development sector.

We are part of UNDP’s drive to be an incubator for the future. To accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda, we need to be fast and curious. The Accelerator Labs are designed to close the gap between the current practices of international development in an accelerated pace of change. They model a new capability to make breakthroughs on the future of development: inequality, decarbonization, the 4th industrial revolution and new forms of governance.

The network will surface and reinforce locally sourced solutions at scale while mobilizing a wide and dynamic partnership of actors contributing knowledge, resources and experience. The Country Accelerator Labs aim to achieve the following results:

Output 1: UNDP Country Offices and partners will have increased capability for scanning, sensemaking and experimentation for sustainable development solutions;

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 global learning and scaling network is established and functioning.

What has been the situation?

Developing countries have various complex needs including poverty, rising inequalities as well as global phenomena like climate change which require better implementation of existing and identification of new solutions that are locally relevant, and crucially, can be adapted, sustained and replicated to address existing and emerging challenges. In addition, we need a strong and adaptable learning system to understand what works, where, and (if possible) why. Identified solutions need to be scaled and, where possible, adapted across regions, SDGs, and ecosystems.

What is our mission?

The Accelerator Labs are UNDP’s new way of working in development. Together with our core partners, the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Germany, 91 labs serving 115 countries work together with national and global partners to find radically new approaches that fit the complexity of current development challenges.

The labs will transform our collective approach by introducing new services, backed by evidence and practice, and by accelerating the testing and dissemination of solutions within and across countries. Sense-making, collective intelligence, solutions mapping and experimentation are now part of the offer from UNDP to governments.

Together with partners, the Labs will analyze challenges within local contexts to identify connections and patterns in search of new avenues of work to act effectively in addressing wicked development challenges.

How are we doing this?

We think the first condition for developing innovative solutions is to be innovative in our methods. Instead of obsolete applications, we use collective intelligence, simulation, modelling, rapid prototyping, multi-site research, and advanced data collection. Through short-term experiments, we discover successful and unsuccessful practices in development and prepare to scale those that work.

The Labs identify grassroots solutions together with local actors and validate their potential to accelerate development. Building on these locally-sourced solutions, the Labs test and iterate new ideas to learn which ones work, which ones can grow, and which ones don’t, bringing experimentation to the core of our work.

How will Turkey benefit?

Accelerator Lab Turkey is an initiative focused on finding solutions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, especially those where Turkey’s progress needs to be accelerated. Our exploration, solutions mapping and experimentation work aim to benefit various stakeholders in Turkey including citizens, civic initiatives, CBOs (Community-based organisations), CSOs (Civil society organisations), government agencies, local authorities, academia, incubators, etc. Solutions that have been identified in Turkey or elsewhere (within the network) will be shared with a large network in Turkey with a view to accelerate their adoption.

Our partnerships

Accelerator Labs build on UNDP’s existing partnerships with governments to scale solutions, but also actively seek new partnerships with smaller entities. Together with diverse partners, we try to learn what combination of solutions can improve how development is delivered.  

Contact us

You can contact the Lab in Turkey by emailing