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Understanding National Innovation Ecosystems (NIEs) and Public sector innovation (PSI)

As part of its mandate, UNDP contributes to building national innovation ecosystems. Two thirds of UNDP’s Accelerator Labs are already supporting national innovation, and most of the remaining third plan to do so.

We focus on supporting the ecosystem’s foundations. Like biological ecosystems, innovation ecosystems require a nourishing foundation, the equivalent of the coral branches in coral reefs. Built by coral polyps, reefs provide an environment for many species to grow and thrive. We see the role of UNDP and its government partners as analogous to that of coral: focus on building the infrastructure that will make the ecosystem hospitable to the diverse actor on the innovation ecosystem. Ecosystem-building activities are highly context-specific and will differ depending on the conditions on the ground.

Public sector innovation contributes to the foundations for national innovation ecosystems. Public sector innovation has evolved from focusing on the innovative, technology-enabled delivery of public services to the practice of using innovation to advance economic and social progress across the board.

The public sector is the natural candidate to provide the foundations for national innovation ecosystems. In many countries, governments play a catalytic role in boosting national innovation ecosystems by making policy, convening key stakeholders, and sustaining key activities.

UNDP’s role is to help engineer national innovation ecosystems that prioritize sustainable development goals (SDGs). We will help governments understand and capture the opportunity to build national innovation ecosystems that are inclusive and use innovation as an enabler of the SDGs.

without PSI

with PSI