Voices from Eurasia

Innovation

Prototyping the government of the future in Armenia

24 Jan 2017 by Marina Mkhitaryan, Max Perry-Wilson, Hasmik Soghomonyan

Innovation
No matter where you live, reforming how the public sector operates is a difficult task. How do we ensure that public services are designed to be as effective and accessible as possible? How do we make government agile and responsive in the face of black swans and wicked challenges? How do we develop a bureaucracy that handles a myriad of tasks as efficiently as possible? In post-Soviet contexts, this challenge is even greater. In the Soviet era, a top-down hierarchy rarely rewarded risk-taking and experimentation, a sentiment that is still too common today. Our own research in Armenia shows that experts fear “rocking the boat” with new ideas without say-so from a higher-up. This results in a channel of creativity that flows only from the top down, leading to services that do not account for citizens’ voices. After all, public sector innovation is not only about listening to citizens’ voices – it is also about optimising working process and getting your big bureaucracy to work effectively and efficiently. … Read more

A survival book for data innovation

15 Dec 2016 by Vasko Popovski , Benjamin Kumpf , Milica Begovic and Jennifer Colville

Agricultural success in Egypt. Photo: New World Project / UNDP
New data sources are sprouting everywhere, but there’s hardly a place that systemically uses them to make a difference. With that in mind, a group of enthusiasts from UNDP in Eastern Europe and the Arab States regions embarked twenty months ago on a big data for development exploration journey with support from the Government of Denmark. The idea was to test new sources of data to generate better insights, improve delivery of services, and generate new solutions to persisting development issues. On the data high seas they were joined by colleagues from the UN Global Pulse who used their experience with big data innovation projects. Then UNV mobilized their online data volunteers. … Read more