I fell in love with the idea of social innovation last year after hearing about the experience of our colleagues from UNDP in Armenia. So I was really happy when we established a partnership with Internews Network to organize a similar event in Ukraine – the Innovation Lab.
After 48 hours participating in the Innovation Lab, I can say with certainty that it is one of the most exciting, unpredictable and productive experiences in my professional life. In the course of two days a group of absolutely different people came up with prototypes for solutions to specific social issues they are trying to solve. It really works!
Participants came up with the following prototypes:
- Online Business Incubator – aims to put people in contact with ideas and resources (human, financial and other) to help implement these ideas.
- All Neighbours – a web-site builder for members of associations of multiapartment houses to help them effectively lobby for their rights, share useful information and improve quality of living.
- People’s Doctor – a user driven web-site bringing together users of medical services to share information about doctors and hospitals
- Ecomisto – a web-platform for citizens to monitor the environment within their city and promote an environmentally-friendly attitude towards waste.
- Mobi-Help – an SMS and web-service to help people with limited abilities of hearing and speaking access information on pharmacies, taxi services, timetables, and special services.
In 48 hours, one group of participants managed to:
- Create a promotional video and user guide for a future web-resource that promotes recycling and ideas to clean up the environment in cities.
- Develop a philosophy for their project, as well as objectives and opportunities for citizens in Ivano-Frankivsk. It will enable everyone living in the city to share information about uncontrolled dumps within the city; check out the valid container sites, waste collection routes, collection points for recycling; sign up for environmental volunteer opportunities; get together with the neighbours for waste disposal and share costs; participate in contests; and organize community neighbourhood clean ups.
- Create a working online prototype of this project
The Internews Network will provide funding to Mobi-Help, and UNDP will support the Ivano-Frankivsk NGO “Centre for Municipal and Regional Development” to further elaborate and implement the “Ecomisto” (Ecocity) project to help citizens of Ivano-Frankivsk make their city clean. I really hope that this project will be a good one, and other Ukrainian municipalities will be inspired by the Ivano-Frankivsk example.