Who are we?
In 2019, UNDP built the world’s largest and fastest learning network on sustainable development challenges thanks to the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany and the Qatar Fund for Development as founding investors, and support from Italy and UNDP core donors.
We started with 60 Lab teams covering 78 countries and are now expanding to 91 Labs covering 115 countries. We create actionable intelligence, test solutions with national partners. It’s early, but so far we’re winning awards. For example, Apolitical's Global Public Service Teams of the Year Award.
We are part of UNDP’s global policy teams and country offices. Our 270 Lab team members bring bright, unusual talent into the development sector. 68 percent of us have experience in prototyping; 55 percent can work with citizen generated data; and 29 percent can perform tasks related to artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Aligned with UNDP’s vision of gender equality, more than 50 percent of our new innovation experts are women, driving our exploration and elevation of women-led solutions.
24 percent of the lab teams are repatriates — a source of pride for us that our Labs are attracting national talent back to developing countries.
We are part of UNDP’s drive to be an incubator for the future. To accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda, we need to be fast and curious. The Accelerator Labs are designed to close the gap between the current practices of international development in an accelerated pace of change. They model a new capability to make breakthroughs on the future of development: inequality, decarbonization, the 4th industrial revolution and new forms of governance.
UNDP Lebanon was set to launch its own Accelerator Lab mid-2019. The UNDP Accelerator Labs were launched globally in July 2019 with the aim of building the world's largest and fastest learning network around development challenges.
The team was on board, an office space with colored post-its was secured, and an onslaught of meetings laced with acronyms ensued.
UNDP Lebanon has four portfolios and dozens of projects running simultaneously. The country office took on its lab potential to build a “learning portfolio,” or a collection of experiments within our projects that would give us the highest “learning on investment”.
Read blog: Lebanon’s Accelerator Lab: An Iterative Role