Voices from Eurasia

Innovation

How do you inspire entrepreneurship in a conflict-affected region?

12 Apr 2017 by Janthomas Hiemstra, UNDP Ukraine Country Director and Sofiya Oshchebska, National Coordinator - Crowdfunding Academy, UNDP Ukraine

Pavlo, 71, is a, blacksmith from Lugansk and will open his new workshop in Kharkiv region. Photo: UNDP Ukraine
The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has not only disrupted everyday life in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, but also led to staggering unemployment. Out of 23 major enterprises in Luhansk region, 19 are currently not operating, while half of the enterprises in Donetsk region have lost about 950,000 jobs. Supporting employment is challenging in the best of circumstances, and far more so in conflict situations. How do you talk about the benefits of entrepreneurship to people who lost everything and, after being displaced, are just trying to find their place in a new community? At UNDP Ukraine’s Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, we have an ambitious goal: to promote entrepreneurship in Donbas, inspire people who worked all their life in mines and factories to step in the unsure path of entrepreneurship, and make them believe in themselves and their country again. So we decided to start by showing the joy of creating and developing your own business through the stories of ordinary people. Stories of people like us who, despite all the difficulties, have succeeded. … Read more

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

Crowdfunding is not (only) about the money

11 Nov 2016 by Marina Petrović, Milica Begović, Robert Pašičko and Kristina Lauš

If you need just money, go to the bank and don’t use crowdfunding. Use crowdfunding if you need awareness building, campaigning, initiating debate, attract other funders and build up your community. When we started our first campaign for an energy independent school in Croatia, we didn’t have the slightest idea where crowdfunding would take us. From conducting a successful campaign to setting up Crowdfunding Academy and UNDP Alternative Finance Lab, helping to launch more than 15 campaigns in 10+ countries - crowdfunding has definitely taken a hold on us. In the UK alone, crowdfunding for civic causes has gained $30 million over the last five years. But crowdfunding is so much more than about getting the required financing for your project. Let’s take a look at some other benefits of crowdfunding: amassing social capital, enabling broader visibility and scaling-up of a given project, as well as catalysing social action and policy-level impact. … Read more