Pushing for partnerships: Piecing together the development puzzle

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Social innovation

"Designers develop infographics for the Municipality of Prizren during a workshop" Photo credit: Arben Llapashtica

Designers work together to develop infographics for Prizren municipality (Photo: Arben Llapashtica)

One of the oft-repeated mantras in our innovation work at UNDP is:

Whatever problem you are working, you can be sure someone is already out there trying to solve it.

Two years into my work here, I would like to adjust that phrase slightly: Yes, there are people working on the solution, but often they are only looking at one aspect of the challenge.

In the world of complex developmental challenges, the solution is a puzzle - where any number of different people, organizations, institutions, and companies may hold different pieces.

The challenge for us is how do we find and bring them together?

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Candy for the brain: Storytelling in Kyrgyzstan

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Social innovation

When you think about it, stories are an essential part of every person’s life.

I’m sure most of us can recall a favorite bedtime story that soothed us to sleep; or a time when we were mesmerized by a friend’s tales of a place we’ve always wanted to visit; or maybe, when we skimmed through a 30-page report and felt…well, bored.

Stories trigger all kinds of emotions. The secret to good storytelling is being able to trigger the right ones.

Storytelling is an art, and those of us in development need to become better artists.

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A child’s guide to corruption in Kyrgyzstan

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Filed under: Anticorruption

There is nothing that gives me more energy, enthusiasm, and excitement for the future than talking with children.

Over past few days, I had the opportunity to visit several schools in Bishkek to talk about my work with UNDP in Kyrgyzstan and the Rule of Law team.

I spoke with children between the ages of five and 17, and I have to be honest: I learned a great deal about both this country and my work.

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The SI-Lab in Belarus: We were hacking, we were learning

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Filed under: Development Development 2.0 Social innovation

the winners circle

We have a winner…Read about what’s brewing at UNDP’s social innovation lab in Belarus

On 20-21 September, as part of the global SHIFT Week, I was hacking for social change with some energetic young men and women who are trying to make this world a better place.

Why a hackathon?

We wanted to try something different: to source ideas from some “unusual suspects” – as opposed to the same old voices.

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On violence: A new approach in Serbia with the New School

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Filed under: Gender equality Human rights Social innovation

the women of 16 days serbia

Sixteen Days: Serbia stands up to violence against women (Photos: Djordje Novakovic)

Recent statistics reveals the alarming prevalence of violence against women in Serbia:

54 percent of women were exposed to some form of violence during their lifetime, while only 10 percent contacted services for assistance.

This violence presents a complex social problem. It is both a root cause of gender inequality as well as an extreme consequence of social norms that condone this type of discrimination.

Life in fear impedes women to fully realize their own capacities, competencies, and goals for the future.

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LIVE 29 October: Jens Martens on the end of the donor-recipient era

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Filed under: Development Poverty Social inclusion


Old development strategies which starkly divided the world into rich and poor are slowly fading away.

Middle-income countries are a good example of this trend – often acting as both donors and recipients of development aid at the same time.

Does the traditional division of the world into ‘developed’ and ‘developing countries’ at all reflect the political and economic realities of today’s world?

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Moldova: How we’re capturing the balance

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Governance Social innovation

prototype police board re-design in moldovoa

Oliver Marlow, director of London’s Studio TILT,  presents a prototype of an information board (Photos: Cristina Lisii)

In early September, our partners from FutureGov and Studio TILT came to Moldova to meet the police.

They spent a full week at the station, sitting side by side with officers, collaborating on some design thinking in the UNDP-supported refurbishing of one community’s police station.

I sat down with the consultants, Simone Carrier and Oliver Marlow, to hear their reflections on how the process unfolded and what insights were gleaned.

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Meet Hapide: How we’re supporting young entrepreneurs in Albania

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Filed under: Development Poverty Social inclusion

screengrab from website

We asked and they answered: Read what kind of future young Albanians want

Less than one year ago, we embarked on an initiative to support youth entrepreneurship.

We wanted to build on the experience of the Future we Want campaign and nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship among young Albanians – a spirit dampened by lack of visible opportunities, support, and professional services.

So we partnered with Yunus Social business (YSBA) to build a platform that would help us promote socially-minded business creation in Albania.

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Come co-design with Georgia’s new Innovative Service Lab!

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Filed under: Development Governance Guest posts Social innovation

team innovation

Co-designing in action with UNDP and FutureGov (Photos: Public Service Development Agency)

Reinventing public services has to start with the user.

Only by incremental experiments, with an eye on effectiveness and putting the end-users at the heart of the design process, can we truly hope to transform public services to meet our citizens’ needs.

Transforming public services to meet the true expectations of the citizens and create public value is indisputably a challenge.

The question is how to prototype, test, and scale up public services in response to this challenge?

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