Innovation 2015: Drawing inspiration from the year we’ve had

As we plot the innovation cycle for the year ahead, it’s an ideal juncture to draw lessons and inspiration from the past year that has kept UNDP innovators around the region busy. We have seen some exciting achievements from the winners of our 2015 Innovation Fund from mobile apps that connect rural women in Myanmar, to hackathons that inspire tech-savvy youth in Sri Lanka, from data management for climate change in Indonesia, to scaling successful prototypes for system level innovations in China and the Maldives

The Fund is only a part of a greater endeavour, serving as simply a catalyst. We have been happy to see innovation embraced more organically in the way we work, for example after the deadly Nepal Earthquake, when UNDP Nepal partnered with Microsoft to develop an app that enabled efficient debris management and ensured timely and accurate payments in the massive cash for work programme.

And that’s not all, we also stepped up our innovation efforts through the Innovation Ambassadors initiative. We now have a distributed resource capacity for innovation in the region and our iAmbassadors are helping tease out the innovation ninjas in our work across COs.

Below are our 2015 highlights!


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MALDIVES - crowdsourcing, mapping

Launched in Dec 2015, the ‘MakeMyIsland’ mobile app crowdsources reporting of citizens’ concerns and problems, and connects residents to local authorities for an accountable response.

Read more

MYANMAR - human-centred design

iWomen - Inspiring Women is an android app for Myanmar women living in rural areas. It seeks to inspire, foster self-belief, and channel peer support for rural women to become leaders in their communities.

Read more

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CHINA - big data, scale-up

This is the award winning Mark II avatar of our Baidu Recycle prototype from 2014. It’s so far been used to collect and dispose of 11,429 electronic items that would have otherwise ended up in the trash. It was a winner at the Solutions Summit, and a semifinalist of the MIT Climate CoLab Global Contest.

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VIET NAM - videos, comics, social media

The #HowAbnormal campaign uses a series of videos and comics featuring scenarios where gender roles are flipped, and it’s going a long way in combating gender stereotypes in Viet Nam. People may sign the pledge to stand for gender equality on the Facebook page.

Video series



INDONESIA - data collection & visualization

Do-It-Yourself Survey Application for Monitoring (DIY-SAM) is an affordable, reliable, and highly scalable survey tool that aims to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of information collection. DIY-SAM makes it dramatically easier to gather, analyze, and share data using a smartphone or tablet.

Watch video

NEPAL - data management for DRR

After the deadly Nepal Earthquake, UNDP Nepal partnered with Microsoft to offer a mobile app that would speed up the rebuilding effort and ensure timely payment. The app that has emerged can be adapted and deployed to aid in any disaster recovery across the world.

Watch video 

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA - citizen monitoring

“Phones Against Corruption” is a corruption reporting tool based on mobile messaging. The SMS system is free, anonymous, and can be used on any handset.

Read more

BANGLADESH - Behavioral science, GPS

GoTraffic" is a smartphone app that equips citizens in Dhaka with real-time traffic data. Both GPS data on buses and crowdsourced data from social media are used to enhance accuracy. It aims to ease the city’s famous gridlocks.

Read more





Partner with UNDP Nepal on debris management


Dialog - Sri Lanka's largest telecommunications service provider

Partner with UNDP Sri Lanka on social innovation hackathons


Glorious Labs - a global technology and innovation company

Partner with UNDP to to collaborate on technologies and innovations for development in Asia and the Pacific.


GoBD - a start-up in Bangladesh

Partner with UNDP Bangladesh to provide real-time traffic updates

(And there’s more..!)


Unlocking the potential of youth

By Fadhil Bakeer Markar, Sri Lanka

i-Women Inspiring Women Application Journey, Yangon Tech girls meets Rural Kyaiklat Women

By Eleonora Gatti, Myanmar

How a little app is making a huge difference in our Nepal earthquake response

By Kamal Raj Sigdel, Nepal

For innovation to work in development, keep calm and rock the boat

By Gina Meutia, Indonesia

POPs Hunter: Smartphone game spreads serious message about pollutants

By Patrick Haverman, China

The future is made in China

By Louise Xi Li, China

Romancing with Electronics: Love, Loss and Recycling E-waste in China

By Louise Xi Li, China