This is a prototype. Please help the UNDP Accelerator Labs contribute to it. Contribute to this toolkit on Github..


In 2022, the UNDP Accelerator Labs launched a survey to get a big picture view on the work that its global network of 91 labs was doing to support innovation ecosystems. The results were surprisingly clear-cut and coherent.

First, we learned that a solid majority of Labs had partnered with governments to deploy interventions in support of national innovation ecosystems, or was planning to do so in the near future. We were looking at a surge of government investment in innovation across the Global South. Furthermore, these Global South governments were looking beyond the usual Global North example of policies to support innovation and learning from each other.

Second, we learned that UNDP was widely recognized as the leading organization in supporting Global South governments in this journey. And third, we learned that collaboration with governments that have invested in innovation becomes smoother and more impactful.

In 2023, as the Accelerator Labs move to contribute more deliberately to UNDP’s R&D function, we partnered up with the Chief Digital Office to offer the experience accumulated by our network of labs in tens of countries in curated form. We are making it a toolkit, that is a collection of documented resources. It is meant to inspire would-be champions of their national innovation ecosystems. More than that, though, it is meant to empower them, by offering ready-made resources that can be re-used after having been adapted to a new context. In this sense, it is a first attempt (still in prototype as we write this) at an R&D product.

Many champions of innovation in the Global South are to be found within UNDP itself. In particular, we hope this toolkit will help the (many!) Country Offices that are moving to support their government partners on nurturing national innovation ecosystems; the Regional Bureaus of Africa and Asia Pacific (and hopefully the others, soon) in their work on public sector innovation; and – since innovation ecosystems are by definition multistakeholder and need constructive government-civil society partnerships – the Governance Community of Practice in its drive to expand civic spaces.