Moon Shots & Puddle Jumps – Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are unlikely to be met without massive investments in different forms of innovation: incremental improvements and transformative innovations pursuing bold missions and bottom-up solutions. This is according to the newly-released 2017–2018 Annual Review of the UNDP Innovation Facility.

The scale and ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals demand a major shift in how development is done. According to a new report released in September by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Innovation Facility; Massive breakthroughs in innovation are required for an all-inclusive approach in order to achieve the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda.

The report, ‘Moon Shots & Puddle Jumps – Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals’, UNDP Innovation Facility shares case studies from over 25 countries of how innovation can make development more impactful, citing examples from Bangladesh, Georgia, Honduras, Malawi, Sudan and Yemen.
The 2017-2018 Innovation report provides the readers a broader picture of the innovation journey at UNDP.

Introducing innovation concepts – current and emerging service lines – it features initiatives that tested or scaled new ways to eradicate poverty, protect the planet, prevent violent conflict, manage climate change risk and advance gender equality. The vast majority of these initiatives took place in countries that are crisis-affected, least-developed, landlocked or small island developing states.

The case studies encompass a wide range of development innovation in action – some are pursuing moonshots, others puddle jumps: from a collaboration with Makers Space in Honduras to jointly design 3-D printed prostheses for inclusion with persons with disabilities; a spatial data sandbox to improve biodiversity conservation efforts across the world together with UN Environment, MapX, NASA and UN Global Pulse; a joint experiment with NudgeLebanon and national partners to improve efforts on preventing violent extremism in Sudan based on findings from behavioral science; a trial to reduce costs of remittances in Serbia with the help of a blockchain and scaling public sector innovation processes in Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, Moldova and Sri Lanka, among others.

However, a focus on unlocking innovation for the 2030 Agenda is not enough. Governments and development organisations need to invest in anticipatory innovation: addressing potential future risks and liabilities by designing experiments to explore them today, notes the report.

Download Report: UNDP

(UNDP/Ob)

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