Project Management

Publishing

Strategies

  • Clients served:
    UNOSSC, UNDP, Harvard Institute for International Development, World Bank, USAID, NHS, UNICEF.
Wednesday
Oct112017

Shortlisted for Infographics Storytelling Book | 2014 

 


 

"Close, but no cigar" some might say, but we were genuinely flattered to be shortlisted in 2014 for inclusion in the book Visual Storytelling: Infographic Design in News published by Images Publishing in Shanghai, China. It is a lovely book to look at and the quality of infographics chosen for the book is high so it must have been a tough call. It was further proof Southern Innovator was getting known around the world and gaining respect for its content and design. The excellent work done by our graphic designer and illustrator Solveig Rolfsdottir speaks for itself. 

 

The proof flats for inclusion in Visual Storytelling: Infographic Design in News.
Visual Storytelling: Infographic Design in News published by Images Publishing.
© David South Consulting 2017
Monday
Oct022017

One World Youth Conferences: Mongolia | 1998 - 1999

 


In 1998 and 1999, the United Nations in Mongolia began the six One World Youth Conferences - on children, human rights, population and development, social development, women and development plus a national summit. One World brought together youth from across Mongolia to debate and challenge the country’s decision-makers on how they were meeting Mongolia’s international obligations. 

It drew praise from then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: “This One World Conference Series is a shining example of Mongolia’s determination to build a more democratic and prosperous future for all its citizens based on human rights, good governance, and a free and fair market economy. … Never should young people have to be protected from government.”

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: http://www.un.org/press/en/1999/19990611.SGSM7027.html

United Nations Archives: https://search.archives.un.org/countries-mongolia-2004

Read media coverage of the One World Youth Conferences here: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=vxk6-u-dVAgC&pg=PA188&dq=in+their+own+words+one+world&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjr-5GO5ePWAhUEBMAKHaLOCCYQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=in%20their%20own%20words%20one%20world&f=false


Blue Sky Bulletin Issue 9: The One World Kick-Off!

Blue Sky Bulletin Issue 10: The youth of One World featured on the cover.

The Memorandum of Understanding on Youth: Negotiated with the Government of Mongolia, it led to the One World Youth Conferences. Pictured: National Youth Coordinator Julie Schneiderman.

© David South Consulting 2017

Monday
Oct022017

Innovation Agenda and Timeline | 2007 - 2015

 


 

2007: David South Consulting retained to research and write the United Nations e-newsletter Development Challenges, South-South Solutions for the then-Special Unit for South-South Cooperation (now the UN Office for South-South Cooperation). 

We were able to identify numerous trends that were at the time being overlooked or under-reported; trends that could radically re-shape international development. This included the rapid rise of mobile phones in the global South and their powerful impact on economic development, the rush to cities and urban areas that was turning the world into a majority urban place, and the shift to greater South-South trade, investment and contact. Whereas the past involved people always looking North for inspiration, capital and business and trade relationships, this was shifting to South-South arrangements. And there were plenty of inspirational, modern, 21st century examples of economic, social and human development achievements across the global South to report on. By consistently tracking and chronicling a quiet revolution underway in the global South, the e-newsletter was able to draw attention to a rising 21st-century global innovator culture being shaped by the use of mobile phones and information technologies. Few at the time had grasped how much this was going to reshape the international development paradigm. 

To start, the e-newsletter Development Challenges, South-South Solutions (begun in 2006), was used to gather together as many stories, data, trends, and contacts as possible and get this message to as wide a group as possible. Luckily, this coincided with the very moment whole swathes of the global South were coming online, either through connecting with mobile phones or through the Internet. Quickly, it became clear there was not a lack of inspiring stories and innovations and solutions to share, but a lack of resources to communicate them. One solution was to utilise a new publishing tool that emerged in 2007: crowd-powered news services. It became a great way to bypass the stranglehold on news and information held by traditional media. Read more on this here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/251968773/Southern-Innovator-Summary-of-Impact-2011-to-2012

In particular, the e-newsletter caught the eye of those looking for inspiration in the wake of the 2007/2008 global economic crisis: 

“Great economic and business reporting! Very helpful for us.” Africa Renewal, Africa Section, Strategic Communications Division, United Nations Department of Public Information

“I just went over your June newsletter. It’s very well done and far reaching. Congratulations!” Violette Ruppanner, Director, 3D -> Trade – Human Rights – Equitable Economy, Geneva, Switzerland

“Just to let you know I enjoyed the newsletter a lot – it was interesting to learn about things going on that I would never otherwise find out about, and also the listing of future conferences and events proved very useful.” Ian Sanderson, Deloitte, Geneva, Switzerland

“Congratulations on another great newsletter that’s packed with fascinating information! I really enjoy getting it each month.” Whitney Harrelson, Making Cents, Washington D.C.

Stories we published that year include: 

Computing in Africa is Set to Get a Big Boost 

Trade to Benefit the Poor Up in 2006 and to Grow in 2007

Social Networking Websites: A Way Out of Poverty

Innovation from the Global South

Creative Use of Wi-Fi to Reach the Poor

Web 2.0 to the Rescue! Using Web and Text to Beat Shortages in Africa

A New House Kit for Slum Dwellers that is Safe and Easy to Build

Afro Coffee: Blending Good Design and Coffee

2008: Development work begins on the concept for a book on innovation in the global South. Attend an Africa trade-focused meeting in Switzerland just as the global crisis breaks. Witness attendees dash from the event as they get frantic calls from London and New York. Undertake Cuba study tour with the BSHF.

Stories we published that year include:

Cyber Cities in the South: An Oasis of Opportunity

Decent and Affordable Housing for the Poor

Nollywood: Booming Nigerian Film Industry

Illiterate Get Internet at the Touch of a Button

Insects Can Help in a Food Crisis

New Weapon Against Crime in the South

Urban Farming to Tackle Global Food Crisis

Urban Youth: A Great Source of Untapped Growth

2009: The book concept becomes a magazine. Attend the UN Conference on the Social and Political Dimensions of the Global Crisis: Implications for Developing Countries in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Stories we published that year include:

Debt-free Homes For the Poor

 Rickshaw Drivers Prosper with New Services 

Cuba’s Hurricane Recovery Solution

Rebuilding After Chinese Earthquake: Beautiful Bamboo Homes

Crowdsourcing Mobile Phones to Make the Poor Money

African Ingenuity Attracting Interest

Making the World a Better Place for Southern Projects

Growing a Southern Brand to Global Success: The Olam Story 

2010: Begin working with graphic designer and illustrator Solveig Rolfsdottir and graphic designer Eva Hronn Gudnadottir in Reykjavik, Iceland on the initial concepts for what would become Southern Innovator. The working title for the new magazine is Creative Sparks. 

Stories we published that year include:

Shoes with Sole: Ethiopian Web Success Story 

Housing Solution for World’s Growing Urban Population

Indonesian Middle Class Recycle Wealth Back into Domestic Economy

Crowdfunding Technology Start-up Success in Africa

Mongolia Looks to Become Asian IT Leader

Innovation in Growing Cities to Prevent Social Exclusion

Maker Faire and the R&D Rise in the South

Food Diplomacy Next Front for South’s Nations 

2011: In 2011, a new magazine, Southern Innovator was launched at the Global South-South Expo in Rome, Italy, using the insights gleaned from the e-newsletter. The first issue on mobile phones and information technology was called “a terrific tour de force of what is interesting, cutting edge and relevant in the global mobile/ICT space…”. A further four issues were published on different themes (and launched at global expos around the world), culminating in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) adopting innovation and South-South cooperation as its guiding approach in its new strategic plan for 2014 to 2017 (http://ssc.undp.org/content/dam/ssc/documents/Key%20Policy%20Documents/N1362177.pdf) (UNDP’s second ever). Southern Innovator was cited as one of the reasons for this. Issue 2 of Southern Innovator, on the theme of youth and entrepreneurship, was also cited as a resource in the first-ever UNDP Youth Strategy 2014-2017 (http://www.pnud.org.br/arquivos/Youth%20Strategy%202014-2017.pdf)  (http://www.youthpolicy.org/library/wp-content/uploads/library/2014_UNDP_Youth_Strategy_Eng.pdf). 

Stories we published that year include:

Food Inflation: Ways to Fight It

Disaster Recovery, Ten Years After: The Gujarat, India Experience

Cambodian Bloggers Champion New, Open Ways

Indian ID Project is Foundation for Future Economic Progress

African Youth Want to do Business in Fast-growing Economy

Anti-bribery Website in India Inspires Others

Data Surge across Global South Promises to Re-shape the Internet

Filipino Architect wants to Transform Slum with New Plan

2012: Two issues of Southern Innovator are launched this year: Youth and Entrepreneurship and Agribusiness and Food Security. They are launched at the Global South-South Development Expo in Vienna, Austria.

Stories we published that year include:

Microwork Pioneer Transforms Prospects for Poor, Vulnerable

Venture Capital Surge in Africa to Help Businesses

Africa’s Tourism Sector Can Learn from Asian Experience

Designed in China to Rival ‘Made in China’

China Looking to Lead on Robot Innovation

Kenya Turns to Geothermal Energy for Electricity and Growth

Global South’s Rising Economies Gain Investor Spotlight 

Cooking Bag Helps Poor Households Save Time, Money

2013: In 2013, the global Human Development Report took on the theme “The Rise of the South”: a theme first mooted as a potential cover story for Southern Innovator’s launch issue while in development in 2010 (http://www.davidsouthconsulting.com/blog/2015/7/27/you-heard-it-here-first-influencing-perspectives-on-the-glob.html). 

The Cities and Urbanization issue is launched at the Global South-South Development Expo in Nairobi, Kenya.

Stories we published that year include:

Global South Experiencing Transportation Revolution 

Global South’s Middle Class is Increasing Prosperity

African Digital Laser Breakthrough Promises Future Innovation

Boosting Tourism in India with Surfing Culture

US $1 Trillion Opportunity for Africa's Agribusinesses Says Report

Time-Tested Iranian Solutions to Cool and Refrigerate

Small Fish Farming Opportunity Can Wipe Out Malnutrition

Vietnamese Google Rival Challenging Global Giant

2014: The fifth issue of Southern Innovator is launched at the Global South-South Development Expo in Washington, D.C.. Southern Innovator has always tried to inspire others to take action and this has turned out to be the case. 

"Beautiful, inspiring magazine from UNDP on South-South innovation. Heart is pumping adrenaline and admiration just reading it”

Once blazing a lonely trail, there are now many places to find stories on global South innovation (The Guardian, SciDev, Devex, Business Fights Poverty, Zunia etc.). Mainstream media have also woken up to the energy and change sweeping across the global South, disrupting its regular diet of negative news stories focused around war, disasters and failure (unfortunately, still the majority of what most people see on their TV). 

"I liked your latest Southern innovator! Always inspiring.”

"Btw, I really enjoyed reading them, impressive work & a great resource. Looking forward to Issue 6. My best wishes to you & your team at SI.”

"The magazine looks fantastic, great content and a beautiful design!"

Most importantly, it is the young who have told us they ‘get’ Southern Innovator. It portrays a world they know - comfortable with new technologies, looking to solve problems, open to doing things in new ways. And it is that audience that excites us the most: the youth of the global South (Africa’s young population will be a huge contributor to the world's working-age workforce by 2050): they are shaping the new world we live in and seeking a role in it.

On Twitter, comments included: From @CapacityPlus Nice job RT @ActevisCGroup: RT @UNDP: Great looking informative @SouthSouth1 mag on South-South Innovation; @UNDP Great looking informative @SouthSouth1 mag on South-South Innovation; @JeannineLemaire Graphically beautiful & informative @UNDP Southern Innovator mag on South-South Innov. 

The phases of this project have been compiled in two e-books and published online here: 

Phase 1: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=llSeBQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=editions:6eHzE10XqZIC&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjSlZz3hv_KAhUDNhoKHetuA6EQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Phase 2: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=lK4jBgAAQBAJ&pg=PP4&dq=southern+innovator+compilation+of+documents&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwicqc3yhv_KAhVGPxoKHc5KC08Q6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=southern%20innovator%20compilation%20of%20documents&f=false

Phase 3: Scale-up Southern Innovator by seeking funding and support. 

Stories we published that year include:

Women Empowered by Fair Trade Manufacturer

Global South Trade Boosted with Increasing China-Africa Trade in 2013

India 2.0: Can the Country Make the Move to the Next Level?

“Pocket-Friendly” Solution to Help Farmers Go Organic

The BRCK: Kenyan-Developed Solution to Boost Internet Access

3D Printing Gives Boy a New Arm in Sudan

China’s Outsourced Airliner Development Model

Big Data Can Transform the Global South’s Growing Cities

2015: In September 2015 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-34372188), China's President Xi Jinping announced China would spend US $2 billion on South-South cooperation initiatives. This has been called “a ‘game changer’ in international relations” (http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/11/opinion-chinas-new-south-south-funds-a-global-game-changer/). President Xi also said of South-South cooperation, it is: “a great pioneering measure uniting the developing nations together for self-improvement, is featured by equality, mutual trust, mutual benefit, win-win result, solidarity and mutual assistance and can help developing nations pave a new path for development and prosperity.”

© David South Consulting 2017 

 


Monday
Oct022017

Global Financial Crisis Response | 2008 - 2011

 


The year was 1997. I was hired by UNDP Mongolia to establish and head up its communications operations in the country (UNDP Mongolia Communications Office). At the time, Mongolia was experiencing “one of the biggest peacetime economic collapses ever” (Pomfret: 1994) . And it showed. Food was scarce, unemployment high, poverty was increasing, and the capital Ulaanbaatar consisted of decaying and shabby Soviet and Communist architecture. The country felt isolated and cut-off from a world experiencing the boom of the late 1990s and the information technology revolution. 

Working in the country for two years (1997-1999) taught me a great deal about how a country recovers from a severe crisis and rebuilds its economy. I learned about human resilience and how markets can restore economies; the key role information technology plays and the importance of unfettered information and knowledge sharing to give people the tools they require to re-build their lives and grow wealth. Read more about this experience here: http://www.davidsouthconsulting.com/case-studies/case-study-4-un-undp-mongolia-1997-1999.html

The unfolding Global Financial Crisis in 2008, while caused by the collapse of the financial system, also presented an opportunity to apply the lessons learned in the late 1990s. That year proved to be a roller coaster ride and a front row seat to what happens when too much debt and fraud overwhelms the financial system. During a conference on African trade opportunities in Switzerland that year, it was disrupted by the crisis as participants received frantic calls from London and New York and grabbed their bags and fled. Later that year I joined my wife (a foreign correspondent) in Reykjavik, Iceland as demonstrations erupted resulting from the collapse of their banks. Later this was called the ‘Pots and Pans Revolution’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Icelandic_financial_crisis_protests). See pictures of the demonstrations here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/15195144@N06/albums/72157613009834677

In 2009 I attended a UN conference in Geneva, Switzerland to evaluate the crisis and forecast where it might go. I wrote a blog about it here: http://www.davidsouthconsulting.com/blog/2016/1/8/global-crisis-report-from-the-un-conference-on-the-social-an.html

On the streets of Paris in 2009.

As this was happening something very exciting was emerging. While researching the e-newsletter Development Challenges, South-South Solutions for the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), it became clear a quiet revolution was ocurring as a result of the rapid spreading of mobile and information technologies across the global South. That represented an exceptional crisis response tool where governments and the financial system were failing people. The e-newsletter was being sent to a global subscriber base across the United Nations and governments, reaching a highly influential audience in the global system. 

In 2011, this research went into the landmark first issue of the magazine Southern Innovator (called “a terrific tour de force of what is interesting, cutting edge and relevant in the global mobile/ICT space…”). This transformative magazine leveraged even greater change as it inspired many, as well as being cited as an influence on the UN’s and UNDP’s strategic priorities (the current innovation agenda and the focus on South-South cooperation). 

The repercussions of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis are still with us. Central banks continue with emergency measures (low interest rates, asset purchases, QE etc.) and consumer, government and corporate debt continues to rise. An ability to respond and recover will still be needed and David South Consulting will be there. 

© David South Consulting 2017
Monday
Oct022017

Wild East 17 Years Later | 2000 - 2017

 


Published in 2000 (ECW Press: Toronto), Wild East: Travels in the New Mongolia is 17 years old. It is also 100 years since the 1917 October Revolution in Russia that began the long experiment of the Soviet Union. Mongolia was the second country after Russia to adopt Communism

The world has changed considerably since then; and so has Mongolia. The digital revolution has rolled across the planet, the attacks of 9/11 unleashed a wave of violence and wars, and Mongolia even became the fastest-growing economy in the world a few years ago (2012). But back when this book was researched, Mongolia was just coming out of decades of isolation within the Soviet orbit under Communism, and the country experienced in the 1990s “one of the biggest peacetime economic collapses ever” (Mongolia's Economic Reforms: Background, Content and Prospects, Richard Pomfret, University of Adelaide, 1994). 

"The years 1998 and 1999 have been volatile ones for Mongolia, with revolving door governments, the assassination of a minister, emerging corruption, a banking scandal, in-fighting within the ruling Democratic Coalition, frequent paralysis within the Parliament, and disputes over the Constitution. Economically, the period was unstable and rife with controversies." Mongolia in 1998 and 1999: Past, Present, and Future at the New Millennium by Sheldon R. Severinghaus, Asian Survey, Vol. 40, No. 1, A Survey of Asia in 1999 (Jan. - Feb., 2000), pp. 130-139 (Publisher: University of California)

That collapse made for some crazy times, as Wild East shows. 

Wild East was called one of the top 10 Canadian travel books of 2000 by The Globe and Mail. 

Reviews for Wild East: Travels in the New Mongolia by Jill Lawless:

The Globe and Mail

"Engaging...a revealing and often amusing account of her journeys through a beautiful country awakening from a tulmultuos era."

The Georgia Straight, Vancouver

"This readable and reportorial book is the perfect antidote to ... those tiresomely difficult, pointlessly dangerous, and essentially fake expedtions undertaken against the advice of local people who know better."

Toronto Star

"Lawless introduces us to Mongolia's tabloid press, to teenage mineworkers, sharp-eyed young hustlers, nomads whose only possessions are their livestock, Mongolian wrestlers and Mongolian horse races."

Mongolian Buryat Civilisation Bookstore

"Wryly funny and wide-spectrum account of Mongolia's tumultuous rebirthing into the 21st century. Half the population lives in Soviet apartment blocks and watches satellite TV but the other half still eek a living from the exquisite, barren hills while living in nomadic felt tents. Of course, I'd much rather be in the tents... but whatever your preference, you will definitely enjoy Ms. Lawless' writing. She was editor of an Ulaan Baator newspaper for two years, and she tells it like it is. Very highly recommended."


Copies of Wild East: Travels in the New Mongolia by Jill Lawless are still available in various editions and languages.

© David South Consulting 2017