UNDP Accelerator Labs: Re-imagining development for the 21st century
Background | We cannot do business-as-usual
Business-as-usual in the way we approach development must change. The Center for Global Development has found that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are unlikely to be met by 2030 without rapid, ubiquitous innovation. This means new and innovative approaches that effectively embrace the complexity of development challenges to enable transformative change need to be introduced and tested.
In 2017 UNDP Uganda made a commitment to invest in innovative solutions for social change. Today, every programme unit in UNDP has budgeted innovation workstreams. UNDP’s innovation portfolio has introduced new tools and methodologies that include becoming more human-centered by co-designing interventions with partners and users, using innovation challenges to find compelling ideas, and using mobile technology to reach rural and remote communities. UNDP Innovation expanded its partnership base by collaborating closely with the private sector, startups and innovators in our projects.
UNDP Innovation in Uganda is now growing its support not only to its projects but also to its partners through the UNDP Uganda Accelerator Lab.
Who are we?
UNDP Uganda Accelerator Lab is a dedicated learning space created to re-imagine ways of facilitating development work. Together with our core partners, the Government of Uganda, the UNDP Uganda Accelerator Lab is part of UNDP’s global network of 60 Accelerator Labs serving 78 countries that work together with global and national partners and local innovators to develop new approaches to address the complexity of current development challenges.
Our team includes a Head of Exploration, Head of Solution Mapping and Head of Experimentation, as well as a focal point. We are developing a portfolio of experiments on our frontier challenge of deforestation, while continuing to find innovative solutions to development challenges.
The Accelerator Labs
Embedded within the UNDP office, Accelerator Labs provide national partners with a set of new services to explore, test and grow solutions for complex development challenges. Our approaches include:
· Sense-making: Labs analyze local challenges to anticipate new avenues of work and act effectively to accelerate development.
· Solutions mapping: In close collaboration with local partners, Labs identify grassroots solutions and stretch their potential to accelerate development.
· Collective intelligence: Labs use collective intelligence to support partners to better understand issues, develop new solutions, promote more inclusive decision making, and provide more effective oversight.
· Designing and testing: Labs simultaneously test approaches to tackle a single complex development challenge. This systematic process allows learning to take place efficiently and effectively.
The success of Accelerator Labs will be realized in three ways: their influence on nurturing experimentation and accelerating development programming, their impact on government policy, and their ability to inspire spin-off public and private ventures.
· Data Visualization Platform – Blog
· Energy Audit - Blog
· Strategy to Scale Social Innovation for Development – Report