Asia Pacific Regional Innovation Summit 2014

UNDP’s new Strategic Plan, launched in 2014, calls for ‘agile programming’ to address emerging challenges at time when contexts and opportunities are rapidly changing as a result of the spread of technology.

The Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific (RBAP) launched its Innovation Fund earlier this year as a way to provide country offices the creative space and seed resources to experiment with new ways to tackle complex development issues.

The RBAP Innovation Fund 2014 expanded on funding opportunities created by the success of the Scaling Up Fund 2013 and built on the UNDP-Nesta Scaling Up Innovation Trainings.

Participants underlined the need for a creative space and financial support to explore new ideas and approaches in a ‘safe to fail’ environment. Through a rapid prototyping cycle the fund promoted:

1.    An opportunity for UNDP staff to experiment with an agile programming approach (low cost; trial, test, reiterate) in the context of existing projects. Solutions developed within a short time frame (6-8 weeks)
2.    A space to scan for available expertise, experiences and partners outside UNDP beyond “the usual suspects”. Engaging partners from inception to co-create new solutions and bring in new perspectives
3.    Upfront risk management through prototyping and low-cost testing of a variety of solutions rather than investing large resources in preconceived solutions that have not been tested on the ground
4.    Working out loud (e.g. through social media outreach) to reach out to new potential partners

Six weeks on, the Fund has seeded innovations that range from virtual parliaments in Bhutan to the crowdsourcing of disaster data for early warning systems in Bangladesh and disaster response teams in Indonesia. The results emerging from the first round of interventions deserve pause and introspection, for lessons learnt and strategies to replicate successes at scale. 

The two-day Asia Pacific Regional Innovation Summit will bring together thinkers at the cutting edge of development innovations in the region to brainstorm on how we can address some of the biggest development challenges of our time and identify opportunities for partnerships in the region.


DAY 1 – 30 OCTOBER 2014

9:00 The role of Innovation for Development in Asia Pacific

9:00 - 9:05 Welcome and Chair: Nicholas Rosellini, Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific and Director, Bangkok Regional Hub

9:05 - 9:15 Opening Remarks: H.E. Mr. Mikael Winther, Ambassador of Denmark to the Royal Thai Government

9:15 - 10:00 Key Note: 5 Pathways for Innovation: Mechai Viravaidya, Founder and Chair, Population and Community Development Association (PDA), Thailand


**Country Office Teams will reflect on the Big Picture questions throughout the agenda on their “Talking Walls”**

**Speakers will be available for one-one clinics to brainstorm with interested Country Office Teams**


Pillar 1 – Stubborn Challenges

Objective: Develop a critical understanding of how to define a problem and the role that futures analysis plays in predicting trends.

10:00 Deep Dive: Defining the problem as the first step to design – learning from social innovators – Shariha Khalid, SCOPE, Malaysia

10:20 Coffee Break 

10:40 Hands On: Understanding the future that is already here – practical tools to spot that future – Noah Raford, Futurescaper

11:00 Reflections from our Practice: Country Office Lightning PechaKucha!

Breakout Group 1

Breakout Group 2

Bangladesh: Crowdsourcing Flash Flood Warnings that Race the Waters Downstream

China: Greening e-waste

Vietnam: Community Homesteads are the New Law Schools

Indonesia: One Click System

Mongolia: Turning Garbage into Gold

Bhutan: Game on in Bhutan

Sri Lanka: Crowdsourcing youth engagement in policy making

Pakistan: M&E System

12:00 Panel feedback and discussions

12:20 – 13:20 Lunch Break


Pillar 2 – Outside Looking In

Objective: Understand that innovation is often not about developing new solutions but about scanning the external environment to identify what we can bring to bear in our work

13:20 Learning from the field: Design thinking in action for local government - Karl Satinitigan, Aid and Policy Officer for Social Entrepreneurship, Office of Senator Aquino, Philippines

13:40 Deep Dive: Simulating and Sustaining Innovation/Remote Monitoring – Possibility or a Reality? - John Patterson, REDD+ Agency, Indonesia

14:00 Reflections from our Practice: Country Office Lightning PechaKucha!

Breakout Group 1

Breakout Group 2

Bhutan: Ain’t no mountain high enough

Nepal: Social Media and Games battle Gender Stereotypes

Indonesia: Low tech mobile app for disaster response

PNG: Phones against Corruption

Malaysia: 'Driving' the Malayan tiger back from near extinction

Maldives: Mobile text messages for greener, cleaner islands

Thailand: Counting the costs of farmed chickens before they hatch

Bangladesh: Should megacities shift focus to moving people not traffic

15:00 Panel feedback and discussions

15:20 Coffee Break


Pillar 3 – Idea to Action

Objective: Developing an understanding of different modalities by which we can quickly move from idea to action to test.

15:40 Hands on: Helping ideas find their best form, validation with participatory design, low fidelity prototyping, testing – Meriah Garrett/Aaron Moulton, Frog Design

16:00 Comparing Notes: Embedding prototyping as the “normal” way of doing business in the UN – UNICEFs emphasis on innovation – Joshua Harvey, Innovation Lab Kosovo

16:20 Prototyping vs Project Doc, being the rebel – Bernise Ang, Zeroth Labs

16:40 Reflections Day 1

18:30 Reception

19:00 Special Address

UNDP’s Vision for Innovation; and Making it Happen - Haoliang Xu, Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia Pacific (video live) and Jens Wandel, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau of Management


DAY 2 – 31 OCTOBER 2014

9:00 – Recap of Day 1

Pillar 4 – Is small really beautiful?

Objective: Understand what are the approaches and opportunities to move from a small idea and achieve impact at scale

9:20 Deep Dive: Moving from idea to trial to scale using rapid RCTs – Rory Gallagher, Behavioral Insights ‘Nudge’ Team

9:40 What is scaling-up and what are the key factors for success – Chair: Francine Pickup, RBAP

9:50 Reflections from our Practice: Country Office Lightning PechaKucha!

- Philippines: Enhanced Access to Water by the Poor through Participatory Water Governance

- India: Removal of Barriers to Energy Efficiency Improvement in the Steel Rerolling Mill Sector

10:20 – 10:40 Tea/Coffee Break

10:40 Comparing Notes: Forget scaling, let’s evolve! Alternate perspectives to Scale – Milica Begovic, UNDP RBEC (video live)

10:50 Routes to Scale: How DFID is promoting Scaling - Jonathan Wong, Head of Innovation Hub, Department for International Development (DFID), UK

11:10 Reflections from our Practice: Country Office Lightning PechaKucha

- Bangladesh: Improving Kiln Efficiency in the Brick Making Industry

- Laos: Community radio

- Indonesia: MDG acceleration

11:40 Learning from the field: From “let’s do a little pilot” to system level change - Namrata Mehta, Vihara Innovation Network

12:00 Panel discussions and feedback – Tips for Scaling

12:20 – 13:20 Lunch Break

13:20 Using the Scaling up Assessment tool

Chair: Francine Pickup – how do we take our innovation initiatives to scale?

- In groups:  Use the assessment tool for the IF projects (or other small-scale projects for non IF COs)

- IF participants fill in the assessment tool with support of the Scaling up fund participants

- Feedback to groups – what scores did their projects get?

- IF participants work with SU participants to visualize their scale up plan

14:20 Present ideas at the end of the sessions

15:00 Coffee Break


The Missing link: Being a Development worker in a 2.0 World

15:20 Key Note: Organizations don’t tweet, people do – Euan Semple, Former Head of KM, BBC/ 


Panel Discussion: Innovation for Development – Making it all Happen

16:00 Hard Talk: Audience to Development Partners – Freewheeling session on reflections from different approaches to operationalizing Innovation

- Nicholas Rosellini, Deputy Regional Director, Bangkok Regional Hub

- Jonathan Wong, Head of Innovation Hub, Department for International Development (DFID), UK

- Carrie A. Thompson, Deputy Mission Director, USAID/Regional Development Mission for Asia

- Eleanor Cupit, First Secretary Development Cooperation / Royce Escolar, Senior Regional Program Manager, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australian Embassy 

17:00 Reflections from COs and defining our way forward

Chair: Caitlin Wiesen, Regional Manager, UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre

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