The Colour of Innovation is a podcast on innovation brought to you by the United Nations Development Programme. Innovation for development is about disrupting the way things work, or don’t… and using creative approaches for solving difficult problems that people experience every day.

With this podcast, UNDP brings to you stories of innovation from across the Arab States. In each episode, we introduce social innovators, sharing their inspirations and their ideas, their passions and their projects for changing the world. In each episode, we will focus on a specific innovation methodology that UNDP Country Offices and their partners use in “doing development differently,” including behavioral insights, design thinking, social innovation camps, green technology, and civic technology.

Why the title, Colour of Innovation? We feel it causes the brain to reflect, reframe, and rev up, just like innovation itself.  First, by stopping to question this unlikely concept: innovation has a colour?  Second, by re-orienting around a new way of thinking: yes, of course, innovation has a colour, for example, blue, as in blue sky thinking; green, as in all things new; white, as in a blank slate. And finally, by getting excited about the possibility of doing development differently

With this podcast, we hope to demystify innovation; to demonstrate its flexibility, by showing how it can be interpreted in so many different ways; and to display its power to engage, connect, and think differently. We hope to provide encouragement for newcomers to come on board, to promote experimentation with new approaches, and leave us all feeling just a little bit more hopeful for our collective future. 

Make sure to follow and subscribe as we will be releasing a new episode weekly.

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Whatsapp for What’s Down

This is a story of how UNDP Lebanon is using WhatsApp, one of the world’s most popular messaging applications, to help people speak their minds and shape their own narratives. In using WhatsApp, UNDP Lebanon created a mechanism to capture individual stories and gain deeper insights into daily frustrations and tensions among Syrian refugees and host communities in Lebanon.

Farming the Sun

In this episode, we explore two stories of green innovation, from Jerusalem and Khartoum, where solar energy is harnessed to create innovative solutions to sustainable development challenges. Learn how one participant in the UNDP’s regional Youth Leadership Programme is using e solar energy to recycle food waste into new products and organic fertilizers, and how another is helping communities living off-grid by turning left-over solar cells into panels for mobile phones and other technical appliances.

Dangerous Waters

How can design thinking help address what the UN has called the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history? In Yemen, a country where two thirds of the population do not have access to clean water, the UNDP Country Office supported local innovators through UNDP’s regional Youth Leadership Programme to address this challenge. By using a design thinking approach, the needs and concerns of users were put front and center throughout. The research and development process proceeded by trial and error, and ultimately led to the development of an affordable water filter for all.

Design for Inclusive Living

How can social innovation camps give people with disabilities an opportunity to solve their own problems? Bringing together people with diverse backgrounds, experiences and skills, UNDP Egypt hosted a series of social innovation camps, called “Design for Inclusive Living,” that created a space for creativity and collaboration among people with disabilities, designers, tech experts, and investors. In this episode, we explore how this approach can lead to more creative ideas and stronger solutions that are ready for investment and scaling.

A Nudge in the Right Direction

Small steps in the right direction. In this episode, we cover behavioral insights and how UNDP Yemen is implementing this methodology in the context of their programming to Prevent Violent Extremism. We dive in to stories of how UNDP Yemen, together with Nudge Lebanon, employed “nudges” to increase participation in workshops designed to overcome trauma and manage conflict.

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