Not another challenge:

Photo Credit: TRẦN VĂN TÚY (http://photocompetition.undp.org.vn/)
Photo Credit: Huynh My Thuan (http://photocompetition.undp.org.vn/)

LESSON #2: CHALLENGES AS LEARNING TOOLS TO SHAPE FUTURE PROGRAMING

We consider that the innovation competitions should not be looked at in isolation. Rather, they serve larger objectives, including shaping policy frameworks and CO’s strategies, as well as portfolio of interventions geared towards the circular economy of plastics. EPPIC was designed to respond to the targets of cross-country cooperation outlined in the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris. In Viet Nam, the EPPIC is part of UNDP’s emerging circular economy portfolio and the Deep Demonstrations process, intended to understand the systems implications of a transition to a circular economy. As part of it we surfaced the bottom-up innovations and ensured that these are on the government’s radar to inform the higher-level policy objectives. Innovators’ insights are invaluable to help create and test policies resonating with the needs of industries based on responsible business practices to achieve the SDGs.

LESSON #3: CHALLENGES SHOULD BE ENVISIONED AS A PORTFOLIO OF COMPLEMENTARY INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS, EXPERTISE, AND SKILLSETS

UNDP has been promoting a ‘portfolio approach’ to tackle wicked problems, recognising that siloed interventions are an inadequate way to deal with the complex and cross-boundary challenges we face today. Thus, focus of the selection process was to catalyze a cumulated impact of all innovations as opposed to stand-alone “solutions”.

LESSON #4: UNDP SHOULD ADOPT A “STEWARDSHIP” MENTALITY TO NURTURE AN ECOSYSTEM FOR BOTTOM-UP INNOVATIONS

One of the most common reasons innovations fail is the lack of support once competition is over and the glitz of awards ceremony has dimmed. To overcome this familiar pitfall, we looked to nurture local ecosystem to host and support the EPPIC ‘champions’, whether they were part of top four or not. As such, the EPPIC was designed to provide incremental and financial support as well as to develop new partnerships to deliver on sustainable solutions to tackle the growing issue of plastic pollution. This network of actors will thus stand beyond the competition to sustain the original intent and efforts.

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Regional Innovation Centre UNDP Asia-Pacific

Regional Innovation Centre UNDP Asia-Pacific

Doing development differently through designing, developing, curating, collating and championing innovation and digital across the Asia Pacific Region.