UNDP Asia-Pacific Innovation Fund

 UNDP’s innovation model (a working draft, subject to change)

UNDP Asia-Pacific Innovation Fund was launched in early 2014 with the support of UNDP Innovation Facility. By signaling UNDP’s strong commitment to innovation, the Fund has supported prototyping of new approaches to address various development challenges across the region. This has included new ways of looking at development problems, solutions outside of traditional project cycles, partnerships with non-traditional partners, and inclusive and collaborative engagement with citizens that enhances the reach and impact of our projects. 

Through a competitive process, seed resources have been allocated to 16 country offices to experiment with new ideas in the context of national development priorities. Here are the results of few examples by October 2014: 

  • In China, UNDP partnered with Baidu and established the Big Data Joint Laboratory, an open platform that will bring together experts and partners to pioneer new methods for using big data to support development goals. The partnership led to the launch of an e-waste recycling app, which harnesses Baidu’s big data technology for collecting and analyzing e-waste related data. (Click here for more)
  • In Bhutan, UNDP, together with government partners, is developing a Virtual Zomdu (a meeting of residents of villages) based on video conferencing technology, in order to connect parliamentarians and citizens across the mountainous terrains of the country (Click here for more)
  • In Viet Nam, UNDP is working to enhance the capacity of the country’s justice sector. Since the antiquated legal education system and low legal literacy among the public is part of the problem, UNDP is bringing law students, faculties, and lawyers to local communities, facilitating their interactions with local citizens, and conducting evidence-based needs assessments (Click here for more)

Through an iterative prototyping process, the Innovation Fund allows for  rapid testing and improvement of proposed solutions through feedback loops, which raise the possibility for a fit solution and the impact thereof. It also encourages an inclusive and collaborative approach to project/program design and implementation, as the solutions are co-created with  beneficiaries and stakeholders. Solutions that prove effective are given the support to be scaled up, in tandem with  support for monitoring and communicating  progress throughout.