A Kostas benefit analysis: Insights from an (ad)venture capitalist

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Social innovation

Kostas Mallios being interviewed

Kostas Mallios brings over two decades of interdisciplinary experiences in building new businesses and expanding existing ones

Kostas Mallios believes in the power of ideas.

Earlier this week, he came to our Istanbul office to join our scaling up workshop as a key mentor from the private sector. We wanted hear from new voices across disciplines, to get their views on how we can better approach scaling our work.

Looking at evolutionary principles, we saw some clear-cut parallels in the start-up sphere: Just like those crickets in Hawaii, businesses are constantly evolving in real-time, meeting their customers’ needs, and conforming to their expectations.

The ethos is exactly the same: adapt or die, sink or swim.

We sat down with Kostas for a frank two-part discussion on how insights from the business world can transform the way we do development. His answers might surprise you.

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Out to pasture: New practices mean new opportunities for farmers in Azerbaijan


Filed under: Climate change Development Environment

ecologists and local farmers scout the scene

Local farmers help experts assess the area’s ecological conditions (Photos: Eltekin Omarov)

Vahid Huseynov is a farmer from mountainous Burovdal, a tiny village in the Ismayilli region of Azerbaijan.

In the past few years, he’s been having trouble grazing his sheep in summer pastures. They’re just getting harder and harder to find.

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Hackathon: Making the SHIFT in Belarus


Filed under: Development 2.0 Governance Social innovation

It’s exciting to be living in a world where groundbreaking technology, open communication, and fantastic scientific discoveries, can converge to create something revolutionary.

From Silicon Valley to Singapore, from complex emergencies to governance, innovative approaches are changing the way we do business; and the best innovations are the ones that come from the people themselves.

It’s all about finding the existing solutions that people are devising to respond to the problems they face.

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Bribe? Salzburg students game solutions to corruption in Moldova

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Guest posts Social innovation

the team tests the game

Eric Gordon (center) moderates the testing of the game. Read more about his experiments in gaming with UNDP

Mark is a senior in high school and comes from a wealthy family.

He is carefree, somewhat lazy, and does not put much effort into schoolwork. His father is worried that he will not be accepted into a good university, so he puts a substantial amount of money in an envelope and goes to see the university president.

He gives the president the envelope and tells him to send Mark an acceptance letter. The president accepts the money and shakes his hand, thus agreeing to the deal.

This is just one of a few different scenarios that our group came up with during the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change where, for three weeks in July, 71 students from 23 countries came together to better their understanding of the media’s role as an agent for change.

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New tools take environment into account

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Filed under: Development Environment

the land of tajikistan

Many rivers to cross: How do you make the environment visible in development policies?

In the last few decades, environmental sustainability has been recognized as a key part of development.

It forms one of the Millennium Development Goals and dominates the post-2015 consultations.

But let`s be honest:

Economy-centred growth, with little regard for environmental impact, still dominates the development strategies of most countries.

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#UNDP4Future: What we’re doing today


Filed under: Development 2.0 Governance Social innovation

undp4future event noah raford speaking

“We see what we want to believe” Noah Raford talks cognitive and social biases at #UNDP4Future (Photo: John A. Sweeney)

In June, I was part of the team behind Foresight for Development –Shaping the New Future, a research and development event held in Istanbul.

Our key aim here was exposing our colleagues to a new trend we like to call “the gentle art of foresight.”

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Film fatale: How one filmmaker made history

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Filed under: Climate change Gender equality Social inclusion

the filmmaker

“Being a woman movie director, it is particularly important to me that women are portrayed in a dignified manner, as fighters, as heroines—the way they are in their real lives.”

In 2013, award-winning filmmaker Biljana Gavranlieva directed After the Rain – the first-ever documentary made by a Macedonian director about climate change.

The film, which was produced with the support of UNDP, the Global Environment Facility, and the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, shows the lives of four women between the ages of forty and eighty, who work as farmers in the country.

Last month, we sat down with Biljana, to discuss the making of the film, its impact, and why women should be at the forefront of efforts to adapt to climate change worldwide.

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From silk to alternative energy: New routes for Azerbaijan


Filed under: Development Environment

solar panels in azerbaijan

Solar energy in Gobustan, Azerbaijan (Photo: UNDP in Azerbaijan)

From its significance to the silk trade routes in the 13th century, to its rise as a great energy producer during the first oil boom of the 19th century, Azerbaijan has long been known for its geo-strategic position in the world.

Today, with the successful completion of the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline, this has never been truer.

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Minding the gap: Georgia takes a page from UK’s innovation guidebook


Filed under: Development 2.0 Guest posts Social innovation

georgia's innovation team

Innovation in action: “…focusing on the processes not just the outcome, and putting citizens at the heart of its approach”

From county councils to government departments, institutions in the UK are thinking more and more about how to develop innovative solutions to the key problems faced by their citizens.

Increased fiscal pressures and heightened citizen expectations means doing more with less.

The conventional stereotype of a public servant being resistant to innovation and prone to inertia is totally out of date.

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