Those of you who have been following the process of post-2015 consultations probably remember the blog post where we asked: What if post-2015 were already here?
In other words, as we keep consulting with citizens on how they want their future to look, we’re also looking at reframing the question from another perspective.
We’re asking: What are you already doing? How are you already making that future you want happen – so that we can be in a position to better support it.
And thus, Spot the Future/Make the Future was born.
With support from the post-2015 team in New York (see the shout-out they got from the UK Government’s Open Policy Unit), we at UNDP’s Regional Bureau of Europe and Central Asia’s Knowledge and Innovation team, together with our offices in Egypt, Armenia and Georgia, and our co-conspirators Edgeryders and Waag Society, are knee-deep in spotting and making the future.
So what’s in the store for us over the next couple of weeks?
The Spot the Future track will focus on engaging civic innovators virtually/digitally in order to identify cutting-edge development trends in each country:
Designing an online platform for engaging local innovators – those who may already be creating the future but remain off the radars of decision-makers and development workers. They seem to be eager to engage in Spotting the Future – the latest analytics show a daily increase of citizens interested in taking part in the discussion;
A set of probing questions for an online discussion will be filtered out from the post-2015 consultation reports in order to engage with those already “in the future”. This process entails civic innovators introducing themselves by a writing blog post in response to a particular issue – generating feedback from others and creating groups of people focused on similar topics.
This will then feed into running a ‘live’ event that will bring different clusters of innovators working on similar development issues. The engagement is already rising.
The Make the Future track will focus on engaging civic innovators in a physical setting through:
Turning specific issues and solutions identified through the previous methods into country-tailored citizen toolkits. Local actors and decision-makers will put this live set of tools (not unlike their Smart Citizen Toolkit) into operation based on the new skills and hands-on experience acquired.
Our hope is that by exchanging some as-yet-unknown development challenges, recognizing and connecting those who are coming up with cutting-edge trends, we may inspire a new way of collaboration between citizens and institutions.
This process will differ slightly in each country and we are excited about learning how these approaches may work in the different contexts, and what trends we will start seeing.
In both Georgia and Egypt, UNDP is looking to leverage this project to widen the already great network of social innovators with whom they are working:
- For example, our colleagues in Egypt are running the “Get Online Week”- an annual digital empowerment campaign over the issues of employment, social innovation and entrepreneurship.
- We, in Georgia, are about to launch a series of mini-challenges for youth groups and organisations. We want to come up with the models of public-government interaction in the priority areas identified through the post-2015 consultations.
- In Armenia, UNDP will working through the excellent Kolba Labs – a living example of what happens when development starts with a user who has a problem.
We’ll be updating this space with what we learn, but in the meantime – don’t be shy, drop us a line and get involved!