Istanbul Innovation Days

31 October - 2 November 2017 | Istanbul, Turkey

Public Sector Innovation Labs and NextGen Knowledge Management


The development landscape is interconnected and fast-changing, dominated by risks and opportunities ranging from the changing climate and new technologies to violent extremism and shifting demographics.

Istanbul Innovation Days is an annual gathering run by UNDP's Istanbul Regional Hub that seeks to explore and accelerate organizational learning of the emerging trends and approaches to development and policy making. The event was held in collaboration with Nesta and McKinsey.

In 2017, the event investigated two trends and approaches that are impacting the way governments design policies, engage with citizens, and manages fast-changing development landscape - all in the context of the SDGs:

●      The rise of public sector innovation labs (PSI labs), signifying the growing interest in evidence-based policy making and application of experimental new methods in the way governments work, and

●      The changing paradigm in knowledge management with a noted pivot away from creating knowledge ‘just in case’ to producing actionable information ‘just in time’ and on demand

31 Oct – 1 Nov

With the public sector innovation labs, we identified strategies for embedding new, experimental approaches into the core of the public sector. These act as accelerators for pursuing the complex and interlinked set of SDGs.

A range of Labs working in and with the public sector, including those from UK, Nigeria, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, FYR Macedonia and Finland) were present. Organizations such as Poverty StopLight, Twiga, Solar Coin and PetaJakarta also participated in the event.


●      Gained the knowledge and understanding of the latest trends in applying social innovation in public sector including various business models for designing and running PSI labs, their current offering and areas of work, results and barriers to creating impact at scale in developed vs. developing context, including the UNDP-supported PSI labs;

●      Received an overview of the cutting edge approaches to SDG-type challenges currently taking place outside the public sector;

●      Heard insights from senior level government officials on conditions and structures required to bring new approaches into the core of the way Governments function.

2 Nov

With the changing paradigm in knowledge management (KM), we identified strategies for embedding various knowledge management approaches into the core of development work in order to strengthen efficiency and effectiveness of advisory and policy support. 


●      Gained exposure to and understanding of the major drivers leading to the changing nature of the KM work in governments, private sector and development. This includes the impact of new technologies, evolving type and nature of ‘knowledge creators,’ and KM in the context of organizational ability to engage with and benefit from fast paced changes in the external context;

●      Learnt about a sampling of cutting edge approaches to generating, accessing and deploying knowledge in a competitive development, public and private sector contexts and its link with the ‘bottom line’ (effectiveness of public policy, competitiveness of new products, quality of policy advice).

●      Got practical mechanisms of integrating various KM strategies into the core business of a development organization.

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