Evaluation of the UNDP Innovaton Facility Project

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Title Evaluation of the UNDP Innovaton Facility Project
Atlas Project Number: 81451
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
Evaluation Type: Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 08/2018
Planned End Date: 12/2018
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 7.6. Innovations enabled for development solutions, partnerships and other collaborative arrangements
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 28,080
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Patrick Breard Mr. patrick@breard.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: internal
Countries: GLOBAL
Lessons
1.

2.        Conclusions

 

The evaluation recognizes the significant achievements of the Innovation Facility. The project has supported UNDP in achieving its strategic results by fostering internal change and enabling COs to bring new solutions to national partners in response to their development objectives. The Innovation Facility has contributed to the achievement of the objectives set forth by UNDP Focus Areas. Between 2014 and 2017, 142 Innovation Facility initiatives were initiated and 21 scaled-up. Furthermore, the Innovation Facility has fostered and enabled ampler South-south cooperation, collaboration and partnerships. Over the course of the project, a total of 66 public-private partnership mechanisms and models were piloted and rolled out to provide innovative solutions for development. The Innovation Facility has also contributed to improving UNDP development projects and delivery. According to more than 80% of UNDP informants, the initiatives supported by the Innovation Facility have contributed to make funded projects more effective (improved quality, targeting, inclusiveness, timeliness).

 

The Innovation Facility project presents evidence of outstanding features across the expected outputs. Project implementation has exerted the capability to “pivot” some of the planned activities and working modalities to achieve the expected objectives. For instance, the project has adapted over the years the criteria and conditions to allocate seed-funds to COs with a view to amplify some approaches/methods or influence scaling.

 

The project has successfully participated in the identification and promotion of innovative approaches. A body of knowledge has been harnessed and developed and capacities strengthened to accelerate the growth, replication, and uptake of new approaches/methods across countries and regions particularly in Asia & Pacific and ECIS. Part of these achievements have benefited from new partnerships with a vast range of actors, from global leading tech companies to top research institutions and think tanks. Subsequently, these innovative approaches have offered to UNDP a platform to design and implement projects with new national partners, and to reach new beneficiaries at country level, such SME Owners, Entrepreneurs, and the Youth.

 

The seed-funding modality has been particularly effective at raising the attention of COs on the innovation agenda and familiarizing staff with new approaches/methods. The fund has further incited or elicited demand for these new approaches, which were taken up in UNDP projects and by national partners. Seed-funding has also helped to strengthen the credibility of innovation approaches in front of external partners and to trigger additional co-funding. For example, for one dollar of seed-funding allocated by the project in 2017, COs have on average mobilized $2.13 in local resources.

 

Partnerships were developed with leading innovators through platforms like IDIA, UNIN, or GSMA. Furthermore, the project has established networks of innovators, to some extent through expert rosters, but more actively through internal networking and collaboration between COs. Regional Innovation Leads have been very effective in their brokering and advisory role. A range of modalities have been deployed to enable intra-regional and cross-regional networking, such as joint workshops, staff visits or co-engagements as internal consultants, online mutual support, etc. When working with national partners to implement an innovative project, innovation champions remained engaged to benefit from the training delivered by external experts -e.g. on AI, BI, etc.- and gain new skills through learning by doing.

 

Advocacy, communication and outreach activities have delivered plethora of products, events and services. The initial SHIFT week was particularly successful from the onset to draw global attention on the project. The annual report of the Innovation Facility is recognized as an effective and qualitative advocacy product. Blogs contributed to magnify specific topics or innovation approaches/methods. The newsletter reaches regularly 1500 innovation champions. The twitter account @UNDP_innovation has more than 14000 followers and exchanged 8300 tweets since its creation. The innovation Yammer group has 1460 members and more than 200 messages posted in the past 12 months. Innovation conversations webinars were organized regularly with top experts, which have proven excellent at inspiring innovators across the organization. The project has recently launched innovation calls with UNDP Administrator. The Leadership Training Programme has integrated 4 modules on innovation. The programme was followed by 600 staff and delivered with support from innovation champions.

 

In terms of organizational processes for improved performance efficiency, the project has led to the establishments of the Innovation Challenge Policy and to informing the new PPM cycle with the Hacker’s Kit developed in UNDP/ECIS and complementary inputs from project team members.

 

The evaluation did not identify major shortcomings or flaws in the setup of the Innovation Facility but some constraints stemming from the design of the project or limitations faced during implementation. The lack of a Theory of Change in the initial Project Document may have prevented the project from presenting clearly the broader causal chain and how innovation would specifically contribute to realizing relevant development outputs and outcomes across UNDP Focus Areas. Furthermore, the initial list of planned activities did not prove entirely relevant to achieving the expected outputs as illustrated by the obsolescence of a few output indicators. The next iteration of the project should be built on a strategy as learning i.e. formulate a Theory of Change, formulate key hypothesis and track progress to examine the validity of the key hypothesis and related assumptions in an iterative way. It is important to constantly revisit the measurement mechanisms of the project.

 

Project monitoring proposed using instruments such as blogs, micro-narratives, progress stories, and to Work Out Loud. This is effective to contribute to change management, but less relevant to communicate failures and lessons learned and to foster organizational learning. Incidentally, the Project Document did formulate the necessary metrics to track the effectiveness of its portfolio. However, further development of an impact measurement framework is highly recommended.

 

The current “projectization” of the Innovation Facility including through the support that it provides at country level appears also to mitigate the capacity to scale initiatives. As stressed by many informants, innovation as intended by the project does not focus on UNDP only. It targets and implies for partners in governments, public sector, private sector, etc. to change also and adopt the proposed new approaches, which is not necessarily achieved at scale in 6 months.

 

Despite several attempts to mobilize additional resources on the working level, the project has remained primarily funded by the Government of Denmark while UNDP provides core funding for staff positions. This clearly creates a risk for the sustainability of the project. This may have also limited the capability of the project to support additional scaling. The Innovation Facility Team should consider involving the Project Board members more closely in Resource Mobilization efforts.

 

Other constraints faced during project implementation include eventually fewer capacities than expected. For instance, the LAC region did not assign a full time Regional Innovation Lead. Similarly, the project expected the involvement of a global Knowledge Management Specialist, but due to other corporate duties this did not come close to any full-time support. Simultaneously, Knowledge Management needs were greater than the ones described in the Project Document. For example, a knowledge platform/workspace would be relevant for each innovation approach/method. At regional level, capacities were also limited to add some knowledge services such as regional online expert rosters, regional webinars that would be easier to attend for CO staff away from NY, or even more regular proactive outreach to CO to seek what support is needed or how projects are advancing and what were the lessons learned.

 

In terms of governance, the structure set by the Project Document has proved effective to swiftly and strategically drive the Innovation Facility. The escalation of innovation in UNDP through the Strategic Plan, the visible support from the Administrator, and the involvement of the Executive Office and other units on innovation related initiatives (project catalyst, country investment facility), are progressively making either the Project Board composition incomplete or its coordination modalities with other initiatives partial.

 

Other constraints faced by the project while realizing Output 1 include the lack of rewards or incentives for staff, being policy advisors, project managers, etc. to actively scan the horizon, report innovative approaches, reflect and test, and strive to change the status quo. A second blank area faced by the project regards the lack of clear process/procedure/governance in UNDP to institutionalize innovation approaches/methods, i.e. to transition a new approach from innovation to the mainstream, including to a “global owner” and capacities, being in BPPS, a Regional Hub, or Centre of Excellence. Achievements under project Output 2 were confronted to the short timeframe (6 months or less) available for projects to use seed-funding from the Innovation Facility, and the lack of visibility on subsequent seed-funds to scale-up initiatives. Furthermore, seed-funding and technical assistance provided by the Innovation Facility tend to concentrate on projects, while innovation implies a broader change management agenda with additional emulating levers at CO level and up to national partner institutions. In other words, many CO still need more empowerment towards risk-taking and sustainable innovation. Advocacy, communication, skills-building initiatives (especially learning by doing) and training have reached many audiences with Output 3, pointing out the need also for tailored approaches and possible gaps. This includes further targeting CO Directors and operations staff, as well as consider involving not just the innovators and early adopters in national partner institutions but also the decision-makers. Networking under Output 4 embarked successfully the like-minded, such as social innovators. There may be more limited networking though among the national communities with the more risk adverse bilateral donors, or with foundations and global funds, as well as with technical communities on AI, BI, Blockchain, etc. Output 5 overlooked the more comprehensive functional and organizational review that would have pointed out all the “choke points” hampering or slowing-down innovation throughout the organization.

 

Footnotes:

UNDP. 2018. Global Programme (2014-2017) Results & Resources Framework: Cumulative Reporting for 2014-2017. Internal document. New York.

Business- 51; Think tanks and innovation labs – 8 initiatives; Media- 7 initiatives.

i.e. according to (i) the evaluation survey, (ii) the Innovation Facility survey, and (iii) corporate ROAR.

Technically, the decision of having a regional lead remains the prerogative of a given region and how they go about prioritizing investment.  This regional commitment is beyond what the project itself can determine/influence.


Findings
1.

2.        Recommendations

 

Based on the above findings and conclusions the evaluation formulates several key recommendations and sub-recommendations to make the next iteration of an Innovation Facility more effective.

 

  1. The Innovation Facility project should develop a Theory of Change that accounts for the new vision and priorities set forth in the UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021. The Theory of Change should therefore elicit the contribution of the project to the Innovation stream, country platforms, and global development advisory and implementation services platform. Furthermore, the Theory of Change should link the project outcomes with the Signature Solutions and the relevant Strategic Plan outputs and indicators presented in the IRRF 2018-2021. The project narrative and results and resources framework of the project should be revisited to better reflect the activities the project has concentrated on during its first phase and the ones required to deliver the expected achievements until 2021.

 

  1. The Innovation Facility should consider having a joint Board (or similar coordination/governance mechanism) for all global initiatives with a strong innovation component, including Project Catalyst, the Country Investment Facility, Project T and others. Composition of the Project Board and oversight of the project would need to account for the escalated innovation agenda at UNDP. Considering the strategic elevation of innovation at UNDP and its positioning in the Strategic Plan as one of two new business models for the organization, the Project Team should consider informing regularly the Executive Office about the expected activities and achievements of the project to ensure that the project aligns with the strategic vision of the organization and contributes to its realization. Furthermore, the project should strive to establish or participate in a coordination mechanism that offers increased opportunities to create synergies between the range of innovation related initiatives (e.g. Project Catalyst, Country Investment Facility). The project should also consider the added value for UNDP to build a global brand on innovation based on an overarching model that could be taken up and disseminated by COs as unique, both federating and differentiating the organization.

 

  1. The project should conduct a review of the administrative and procedural bottlenecks that impede innovation within UNDP. A business model and operations review is underway in UNDP, which will likely aim to address some of these issues. However, forthcoming innovation approaches/methods may require continuous organizational improvement or radical change. Therefore, the next iteration of the project should be a team that has BMS membership and reporting lines, and therefore be given the clear mandate to work with BMS to structurally review bottlenecks, address them and also to have regulatory sandboxes to test new ways of working. Such regular reviews could be jointly performed with the teams that manage the Project Catalyst and Country Investment Facility.

 

  1. The project should continue looking for the leading edge and explore mechanisms to institutionalize innovation approaches/methods that were taken-up by the organization. The project should consider transitioning the approaches/methods when they have reached a certain scale to global owners promoted and capacitated either as new component of a Signature Solution and/or as Centre of Excellence, being in BPPS, a Regional Hub, a Global Policy Centre. The project should clarify the threshold and conditions for such transition to happen and decision-making process. The project could also elicit what are the expected characteristics of innovation approaches/methods, what are their commonalities and optional features, for instance in terms of global resource mobilization, partnership building, branding, knowledge management and networking, etc. This entails further investing in specialized capacities inside the organization, for instance on data science. It has therefore be supported by core investments. Furthermore, the project should pivot to building horizon scanning capabilities in all offices and across all thematic areas while continuing to scan for innovative approaches and seek rewards and incentives to actively involve CO staff and national partners in “business/development intelligence”.

 

  1. The project should explore ways to further empower COs to take-up and scale innovation. This may entail for instance to provide longer-term predictable support to specific COs to build an ecosystem better allowing to design systems-change pathways, reach scale and sustainable initiatives. The project could also review options for COs to request seed-funding when they see an opportunity for it rather than just once a year. This would, however, require more capacities in the Innovation Facility project team. The project may further consider focusing certain resources on fewer projects that are more likely to scale, which may require to select some proposals based on their intended impact. It is important to note that co-investments from Country Offices have proven to be a key factor in successful scaling. Empowerment may look also at strengthening the capacity of COs to help each other -e.g. through mutual support initiatives, horizontal knowledge sharing, etc.- to facilitate the establishment of an internal market places whereby work is better equipped to tackle an approach “one client, one problem, one team”. Empowerment may also touch upon the external partners, from slightly enlarging the intervention around a project up to looking at assisting in the development of national innovation strategies.

 

  1. The project should consider alternative funding arrangements, like a trust fund, to “de-projectize” the Innovation Facility and facilitate the mobilization of additional resources. Resource mobilization should be prioritized – especially involving senior management -, including by seeking increased access to global funds, leveraging impact investments in relevant innovation approaches/methods, targeting foundations and private sector actors with which the project has already established partnerships.

 

  1. The Innovation Facility should further emphasize and support cultural change as a key enabler of innovation adoption within UNDP and across partner organizations. Accelerating change would imply to target more vigorously CO management, for instance through tailored training, special events, etc. The project should also further strengthen the global visibility of UNDP on innovation for development together with the Executive Office and BERA, including by continued support to the Istanbul Innovation Days which could be branded as UNDP’s global I4D event. To further facilitate change and adoption of innovation, the project should strive to develop structured support offers to Country Offices and partners that can be adjusted based on specific needs and strengthen its Knowledge Management activities.

Recommendations
1

The Innovation Facility project should develop a Theory of Change that accounts for the new vision and priorities set forth in the UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021. The Theory of Change should therefore elicit the contribution of the project to the Innovation stream, country platforms, and global development advisory and implementation services platform. Furthermore, the Theory of Change should link the project outcomes with the Signature Solutions and the relevant Strategic Plan outputs and indicators presented in the IRRF 2018-2021. The project narrative and results and resources framework of the project should be revisited to better reflect the activities the project has concentrated on during its first phase and the ones required to deliver the expected achievements until 2021.

2

The Innovation Facility should consider having a joint Board (or similar coordination/governance mechanism) for all global initiatives with a strong innovation component, including Project Catalyst, the Country Investment Facility, Project T and others. Composition of the Project Board and oversight of the project would need to account for the escalated innovation agenda at UNDP. Considering the strategic elevation of innovation at UNDP and its positioning in the Strategic Plan as one of two new business models for the organization, the Project Team should consider informing regularly the Executive Office about the expected activities and achievements of the project to ensure that the project aligns with the strategic vision of the organization and contributes to its realization. Furthermore, the project should strive to establish or participate in a coordination mechanism that offers increased opportunities to create synergies between the range of innovation related initiatives (e.g. Project Catalyst, Country Investment Facility). The project should also consider the added value for UNDP to build a global brand on innovation based on an overarching model that could be taken up and disseminated by COs as unique, both federating and differentiating the organization.

3

The project should conduct a review of the administrative and procedural bottlenecks that impede innovation within UNDP.  A business model and operations review is underway in UNDP, which will likely aim to address some of these issues. However, forthcoming innovation approaches/methods may require continuous organizational improvement or radical change. Therefore, the next iteration of the project should be a team that has BMS membership and reporting lines, and therefore be given the clear mandate to work with BMS to structurally review bottlenecks, address them and also to have regulatory sandboxes to test new ways of working. Such regular reviews could be jointly performed with the teams that manage the Project Catalyst and Country Investment Facility.

4

The project should continue looking for the leading edge and explore mechanisms to institutionalize innovation approaches/methods that were taken-up by the organization. The project should consider transitioning the approaches/methods when they have reached a certain scale to global owners promoted and capacitated either as new component of a Signature Solution and/or as Centre of Excellence, being in BPPS, a Regional Hub, a Global Policy Centre. The project should clarify the threshold and conditions for such transition to happen and decision-making process. The project could also elicit what are the expected characteristics of innovation approaches/methods, what are their commonalities and optional features, for instance in terms of global resource mobilization, partnership building, branding, knowledge management and networking, etc. This entails further investing in specialized capacities inside the organization, for instance on data science. It has therefore to be supported by core investments. Furthermore, the project should pivot to building horizon scanning capabilities in all offices and across all thematic areas while continuing to scan for innovative approaches and seek rewards and incentives to actively involve CO staff and national partners in “business/development intelligence”.

5

The project should explore ways to further empower COs to take-up and scale innovation. This may entail for instance to provide longer-term predictable support to specific COs to build an ecosystem better allowing to design systems-change pathways, reach scale and sustainable initiatives. The project could also review options for COs to request seed-funding when they see an opportunity for it rather than just once a year. This would, however, require more capacities in the Innovation Facility project team. The project may further consider focusing certain resources on fewer projects that are more likely to scale, which may require to select some proposals based on their intended impact. It is important to note that co-investments from Country Offices have proven to be a key factor in successful scaling. Empowerment may look also at strengthening the capacity of COs to help each other -e.g. through mutual support initiatives, horizontal knowledge sharing, etc.- to facilitate the establishment of an internal market places whereby work is better equipped to tackle an approach “one client, one problem, one team”. Empowerment may also touch upon the external partners, from slightly enlarging the intervention around a project up to looking at assisting in the development of national innovation strategies.

6

The project should consider alternative funding arrangements, like a trust fund, to “de-projectize” the Innovation Facility and facilitate the mobilization of additional resources. Resource mobilization should be prioritized – especially involving senior management -, including by seeking increased access to global funds, leveraging impact investments in relevant innovation approaches/methods, targeting foundations and private sector actors with which the project has already established partnerships.

7

The Innovation Facility should further emphasize and support cultural change as a key enabler of innovation adoption within UNDP and across partner organizations. Accelerating change would imply to target more vigorously CO management, for instance through tailored training, special events, etc. The project should also further strengthen the global visibility of UNDP on innovation for development together with the Executive Office and BERA, including by continued support to the Istanbul Innovation Days which could be branded as UNDP’s global I4D event. To further facilitate change and adoption of innovation, the project should strive to develop structured support offers to Country Offices and partners that can be adjusted based on specific needs and strengthen its Knowledge Management activities.

1. Recommendation:

The Innovation Facility project should develop a Theory of Change that accounts for the new vision and priorities set forth in the UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021. The Theory of Change should therefore elicit the contribution of the project to the Innovation stream, country platforms, and global development advisory and implementation services platform. Furthermore, the Theory of Change should link the project outcomes with the Signature Solutions and the relevant Strategic Plan outputs and indicators presented in the IRRF 2018-2021. The project narrative and results and resources framework of the project should be revisited to better reflect the activities the project has concentrated on during its first phase and the ones required to deliver the expected achievements until 2021.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/10]

BPPS welcomes the recommendation. As part of the Evaluation, a theory of change was developed and it will be further shaped to link to the SP 2018-2021 and its signature solutions to inform the design of the next phase of the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Theory of Change updated to inform the design of the next phase of the Innovation Facility.
[Added: 2018/10/10]
Innovation team BPPS/Global Policy Network 2019/06 Initiated
2. Recommendation:

The Innovation Facility should consider having a joint Board (or similar coordination/governance mechanism) for all global initiatives with a strong innovation component, including Project Catalyst, the Country Investment Facility, Project T and others. Composition of the Project Board and oversight of the project would need to account for the escalated innovation agenda at UNDP. Considering the strategic elevation of innovation at UNDP and its positioning in the Strategic Plan as one of two new business models for the organization, the Project Team should consider informing regularly the Executive Office about the expected activities and achievements of the project to ensure that the project aligns with the strategic vision of the organization and contributes to its realization. Furthermore, the project should strive to establish or participate in a coordination mechanism that offers increased opportunities to create synergies between the range of innovation related initiatives (e.g. Project Catalyst, Country Investment Facility). The project should also consider the added value for UNDP to build a global brand on innovation based on an overarching model that could be taken up and disseminated by COs as unique, both federating and differentiating the organization.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/10]

BPPS welcomes the recommendation, which highlights the need for good coordination of all strategic initiatives which aim to advance innovation in UNDP, and notes that full implementation is not within its remit.  The Innovation Facility, as a cost-sharing project hosted by BPPS, is not in a position to decide independently on what corporate governance mechanisms on innovation are appropriate. The Facility elevated this issue to the Innovation Board meeting in September 2018 and received further direction in this regard.   The Innovation Board, consisting of senior UNDP leadership, provides strategic direction, oversees the pipeline of initiatives, and holds accountability for the agenda of the Innovation Facility project. The Innovation Board directed the Innovation Facility to develop a proposal for establishment of a corporate governance mechanism to ensure synergy of innovation-related initiatives.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Seek direction from the Innovation Board on suitable way to address this recommendation.
[Added: 2018/10/10]
BPPS (DIG Innovation team) 2018/09 Completed
2.2 Develop a proposal for the establishment of an expanded Innovation Board to ensure synergy of all innovation-related initiatives
[Added: 2018/10/10]
BPPS (DIG Innovation team) 2019/06 Initiated
3. Recommendation:

The project should conduct a review of the administrative and procedural bottlenecks that impede innovation within UNDP.  A business model and operations review is underway in UNDP, which will likely aim to address some of these issues. However, forthcoming innovation approaches/methods may require continuous organizational improvement or radical change. Therefore, the next iteration of the project should be a team that has BMS membership and reporting lines, and therefore be given the clear mandate to work with BMS to structurally review bottlenecks, address them and also to have regulatory sandboxes to test new ways of working. Such regular reviews could be jointly performed with the teams that manage the Project Catalyst and Country Investment Facility.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/10]

BPPS welcomes the overall recommendation to “conduct a review of the administrative and procedural bottlenecks that impede innovation within UNDP”, although it is noted that this is not within the remit of the BPPS Innovation team.   A review of the management services function is currently underway with a specific focus on improving business processes, along with the design of the new Global Policy Network. The Innovation Facility shared this recommendation with the Innovation Board on 17 September 2018.  It is furthermore noted that in June 2018, UNDP has made enabling innovation one of the three pillars of the new end-to-end re-write of its  Programme and Project Management (PPM) approaches and prescriptive content.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Bring recommendation to the Innovation Board for their consideration and further determination in consultation with BMS, BPPS management and the ExO
[Added: 2018/10/10]
Innovation team BPPS 2018/09 Completed
4. Recommendation:

The project should continue looking for the leading edge and explore mechanisms to institutionalize innovation approaches/methods that were taken-up by the organization. The project should consider transitioning the approaches/methods when they have reached a certain scale to global owners promoted and capacitated either as new component of a Signature Solution and/or as Centre of Excellence, being in BPPS, a Regional Hub, a Global Policy Centre. The project should clarify the threshold and conditions for such transition to happen and decision-making process. The project could also elicit what are the expected characteristics of innovation approaches/methods, what are their commonalities and optional features, for instance in terms of global resource mobilization, partnership building, branding, knowledge management and networking, etc. This entails further investing in specialized capacities inside the organization, for instance on data science. It has therefore to be supported by core investments. Furthermore, the project should pivot to building horizon scanning capabilities in all offices and across all thematic areas while continuing to scan for innovative approaches and seek rewards and incentives to actively involve CO staff and national partners in “business/development intelligence”.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/10]

BPPS welcomes the recommendation, and notes that the Innovation Facility has created a special window for both “early stage” cutting edge ideas and “scaling” initiatives as part of its 2018 Call for Proposals.  UNDP teams that have received funding and technical support from the Innovation Facility have helped UNDP to articulate 4 new demand-driven service lines on: alternative finance, behavioural insights, data innovation and public sector innovation labs. It is noted that the full implementation of this recommendation to institutionalize innovation via the Innovation Facility project is contingent on the continuation of the project, decisions of the Innovation Board and the development of UNDP’s new business model, including the design of the new Global Policy Network and the review of the management services function.  At the Board meeting on 17 September 2018, the Innovation Facility presented four new pillars of a future strategy/Facility with ‘Innovation Readiness’ being one.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Implement 2018 Call for Proposal with special windows that encourage: horizon scanning, scaling, transformative innovation and business model innovation
[Added: 2018/10/10]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) – Development Impact Group 2018/09 Completed
4.2 Develop strategic framework for future innovation work-streams for phase 2 of the Innovation Facility for consideration by the Innovation Facility Board.
[Added: 2018/10/10]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) – Development Impact Group 2019/03 Initiated
5. Recommendation:

The project should explore ways to further empower COs to take-up and scale innovation. This may entail for instance to provide longer-term predictable support to specific COs to build an ecosystem better allowing to design systems-change pathways, reach scale and sustainable initiatives. The project could also review options for COs to request seed-funding when they see an opportunity for it rather than just once a year. This would, however, require more capacities in the Innovation Facility project team. The project may further consider focusing certain resources on fewer projects that are more likely to scale, which may require to select some proposals based on their intended impact. It is important to note that co-investments from Country Offices have proven to be a key factor in successful scaling. Empowerment may look also at strengthening the capacity of COs to help each other -e.g. through mutual support initiatives, horizontal knowledge sharing, etc.- to facilitate the establishment of an internal market places whereby work is better equipped to tackle an approach “one client, one problem, one team”. Empowerment may also touch upon the external partners, from slightly enlarging the intervention around a project up to looking at assisting in the development of national innovation strategies.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/10]

BPPS welcomes the recommendation, and notes that this is a broader corporate issue, requiring coordination across all of UNDP’s innovation programmes.  The development of the next phase of the Innovation Facility, for consideration by the Innovation Board, will incorporate a pillar on mission-driven innovation addressing relevant components of this recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Review call for proposal (2019) and modus operandi to reflect prioritization of initiatives that scale innovation
[Added: 2018/10/10]
BPPS (GPN) 2019/10 Not Initiated
5.2 Propose new strategic framework to Innovation Facility Board for approval.
[Added: 2018/10/10]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) – Development Impact Group 2019/03 Initiated
6. Recommendation:

The project should consider alternative funding arrangements, like a trust fund, to “de-projectize” the Innovation Facility and facilitate the mobilization of additional resources. Resource mobilization should be prioritized – especially involving senior management -, including by seeking increased access to global funds, leveraging impact investments in relevant innovation approaches/methods, targeting foundations and private sector actors with which the project has already established partnerships.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/10]

BPPS welcomes the recommendation and will bring to the attention of the Innovation Board, donor and the Bureaus for management services and external relations and advocacy for their consideration. The Innovation Facility, will work to broaden resource mobilisation in the next phase of the project.  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Share recommendation with Innovation Board and/or Senior Management as appropriate
[Added: 2018/10/10]
BPPS 2019/03 Initiated
6.2 Develop resource mobilisation strategy for next phase of Innovation facility
[Added: 2018/10/10]
BPPS 2019/06 Not Initiated
7. Recommendation:

The Innovation Facility should further emphasize and support cultural change as a key enabler of innovation adoption within UNDP and across partner organizations. Accelerating change would imply to target more vigorously CO management, for instance through tailored training, special events, etc. The project should also further strengthen the global visibility of UNDP on innovation for development together with the Executive Office and BERA, including by continued support to the Istanbul Innovation Days which could be branded as UNDP’s global I4D event. To further facilitate change and adoption of innovation, the project should strive to develop structured support offers to Country Offices and partners that can be adjusted based on specific needs and strengthen its Knowledge Management activities.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/10]

BPPS welcomes the recommendation and notes that the Innovation facility has played a significant role in supporting   communication and culture change on innovation, in line with the SP 2018-2021. This includes: A ‘story competition,’ together with BERA, to curate a series of winning stories about innovation ;  Monthly “Innovation Conversations” in 2018 between the UNDP Administrator and the community of Country Office innovators;; a series of candid brown bag lunches at UNDP HQ with innovation practitioners from the private sector and think tanks, along with high level innovation events ; dedicated Innovation Facility funding (20% of total funds) to invest in skills training and talent development of UNDP innovation champions in COs and Together with the Talent Development Unit in HR, the Innovation Facility has shaped the curriculum and training on “innovation for development” as part of the LEAD and JPO trainings.

The next phase of the project will continue to pursue this objective including through engagement with ExO and BERA to strengthen the global visibility of “innovation for development” including through recommending the branding of the Istanbul Innovation Days as a global event, with resource allocation decisions to be determined in the next project phase. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 Feature the Innovation Facility project progress and achievements at high level events at General Assembly
[Added: 2018/10/10]
BPPS innovation team 2018/10 Completed
7.2 Communicate key results of the 2017 portfolio through global flagship report and 2018 process widely through posts on external blogs
[Added: 2018/10/10]
BPPS Innovation team 2018/10 Completed
7.3 Design of Phase 2 of the Innovation Facility to incorporate culture change aspects.
[Added: 2018/10/10]
BPPS Innovation team 2019/03 Not Initiated

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