For a growing number of countries, innovation — spurred by technological advances and increased access to global markets — is a leading driver of economic growth and prosperity. New technologies and an appetite for social, economic, and policy reforms are creating new entry points to address the most stubborn development challenges. Whether it is around technology innovations, alternative finance models or experimentation policy, governments are increasingly realizing that they need to invest in social innovation approaches to better engage with citizens, establish their overall legitimacy and create the next generation of services.
The report ‘Spark, Scale, Sustain’ shares UNDP’s approach to innovation: over 40 case studies of innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals in practice and Features on Alternative Finance, Behavioral Insights, Data Innovation and Public Policy Labs.
The innovation initiatives are testing and scaling solutions to address challenges across five areas:
Last week, the Occidental College Task Force on Citizen Accountability launched a report of their research findings entitled The Future of Citizen Engagement: Recommendations for Implementing Effective Feedback Initiatives. This research team, commissioned by the UN Millennium Campaign, assessed a variety of citizen feedback initiatives around the world which focus on incorporating citizen voice into local and national policy and/or service delivery. Among the case studies were UNICEF’s U Report in Uganda, and the MY World local spin-off survey, MY Municipality in Macedonia. For a full documentation of the initiatives which the team encountered through their research, see this interactive map.
The research assessed which characteristics make an initiative most effective in a variety of local contexts and across a span of diverse actors. From these findings, the report details a set of nine recommendations for implementing strong and effective citizen feedback initiatives:
Government buy-in and support is essential to ensure that citizen feedback is translated into change
All partners must receive value from the initiative
Existing civil society networks and partnerships are essential for effective outreach
The timing of a citizen feedback initiative launch impacts its success
An option of anonymity will allow for more candid citizen feedback
Technology must be easy-to-use, accessible and functional
Outreach must use many mediums of communication, including both tech and non-tech platforms
Initiatives must find ways to include marginalized populations
Target communities must be informed of their rights and responsibilities
This research is extremely relevant for the future of the MY World survey. Thus far, MY World has allowed over 7 million people to have their say concerning the next international development agenda. The hope for the future is that people everywhere are equipped with comprehensive tools which allow them to have their say in local and national policy processes as well.
These recommendations will serve the UN Millennium Campaign and its partners as they decides how the MY World model can fit into a local or national context.