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Entries in innovation (15)

Thursday
Nov302017

Southern Innovator and the Growing Global Innovation Culture: Background Paper | 2013


Publisher: David South Consulting/David South International 

Category: Background Paper

Published: July 2013

Client: United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)

Introduction

The topic of innovation is ever more frequently mentioned by policy-makers and politicians. Whole business schools dedicate themselves to the subject, while governments and international organizations now often set aside a department or division dedicated to innovation. The European Commission’s Innovation Union is one example (http:// ec.europa.eu/research/innovation-union/index_en.cfm).

This paper argues that the rise of a global innovation culture is not just hype, a marketing catch-phrase or the latest piece of government jargon. It is really happening and it is snowballing with the aid of the communications revolution. It is interlinking with increasing global trade links, extending to what were some of the most remote corners of the earth. Increasing urbanization is drawing people into new circumstances and causing chaos in many lives, but also spawning challenges that spur people to seek solutions.

The current global economic crisis which started in 2007/2008 seems to have accelerated this tendency as many question the validity and sustainability of the current economic paradigm and global structure. The over-reliance on debt to create prosperity (from housing bubbles to credit cards) has exposed the failure of many institutions, governments and companies - small and large - to innovate. The use of debt - rather than innovation - to create economic growth and prosperity leads to innumerable problems. Resources are not used efficiently (a serious problem on a finite planet with a growing population heading past 7 billion) (UN), and technological and scientific advances are held back as there is no incentive to change old ways when money is easy and cheap. 

While many countries of the global North, particularly in Europe and North America, have experienced a severe economic crisis since 2007, the countries of the global South - while not in any way immune to the problems experienced by the global North - are experiencing a profound perception change.

The space created by the crisis in the North has directed investment wealth and attention towards the global South and emerging market countries. One of the more amusing manifestations of this has been the endless - and very creative - deployment of acronyms for each new investment opportunity, BRIC, CIVETS,etc. Countries and regions which were subject to decades of negative publicity - or just completely ignored - were now ‘sexy’.

In just eight years from 2000 to 2008, BRICs countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - saw their combined share of total world economic output rise from 16 to 22 percent. This led to a 30 percent increase in global output during the period, showing how key these countries were to global prosperity in the 21st Century. The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries make up nearly half the world’s population and are regional leaders. Taken together, their gross domestic products (GDPs) are not far behind the United States.

What's next? 

Ruchir Sharma’s Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles (http:// www.amazon.com/Breakout-Nations-Pursuit-Economic-Miracles/dp/0393080269) argues that the BRICs are now entering a more stable growth path and thus will not see the rapid-fire expansion and quick profits investors have become used to in the past decade. 

"The BRICs,” Sharma told Forbes magazine, “were last decade’s team.”

The buzz surrounding the BRICs countries over the past decade has been justified by their impressive growth rates, declining poverty levels, modernizing economies and societies and growing middle class populations.

China alone saw its gross domestic product grow by US$5 trillion between 2001 and 2011.

But other countries are now coming up. Sharma points out that Indonesia was the best performing emerging market in 2011 and has a GDP that will surpass a trillion dollars in the coming years.

He also believes Sri Lanka and Nigeria are economies to watch.

Sharma says funds flowing into emerging market stocks grew by 478 percent between 2005 and 2010, a huge jump compared to 2000 to 2005, when the total grew by 92 per cent.

Investors who watch the emerging markets predict the hot growth areas for the next decade will be around energy, technology, and agricultural resources. All are areas ripe for significant innovation.

To make sense of the complexity of fast-emerging economies, the flurry of new investor acronyms try to find the common attributes they share. One country cluster is called the CIVETS: Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa (http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIVETS). Another is PC-16 (Post-China16), comprising the16 countries best suited to succeed China as the world's low-cost, export-oriented economy hub - Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, ...

Read the rest of the Background Paper online here: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=omNnBgAAQBAJ&dq=southern+innovator+background+paper&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Background Paper for the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

© 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 Development Expo (GSSD 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 (GSSD 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 (GSSD 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 (GSSD 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 

 


Tuesday
Jul112017

Why David South Consulting (DSC)/David South International (DSI)? 

 

How we work is as important as the results we get. In fact, we believe it shapes the result. Get the journey to the goal right, and the goal will be better for it; more substantial, more effective, more long-lasting. We have developed a methodology and way of working that can take complex and complicated mandates and turn them into clear achievements.

Through our case studies, we show how messy, complex and often conflicting mandates are re-shaped into substantial achievements that inspire others. We have done this for large institutions undergoing great stress and transformation (usually in some way brought on by digital change), and for smaller organizations and start-ups. 

Modern organizations are diverse, often under stress, and buffeted by shifting political demands. 

We understand complexity is the norm for any organization working with highly educated professionals seeking to be leaders in their field. If you do not engage them, they leave for greener pastures. 

We listen, we review the mandates and research the data; we get to know the players and stakeholders; and then we act, with the staying power and focus required to get substantial results. It has made many of our past clients’ careers - and money. 

This includes offering strategic support to senior large institution leaders, including high-profile women leaders and senior UN officials and healthcare professionals

For example, we have twice helped in making UNDP (the UN’s development agency) relevant to the digital era, adapting to the new way of doing things, in particular how young people can be better engaged. We have worked in a major crisis in Asia, during rapid transformation to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) (being called a “role model”), and with a wide range of clients, from youth media start-ups to a prestigious academic research institute. 

Quick to spot trends and consistently viewing them from a human development perspective (UNDP’s development methodology, which is championed every year in its global and national human development reports), DSC/DSI was able to build a respected profile and brand for the United Nations, while drawing others into the innovation and South-South space, making it ‘cool’.

When this work had started at the end of 2006, there was very little coverage online and in the media of the quiet solutions revolution in the global South; today there are many services, media outlets and websites covering stories on the global South and innovation. Examples include The Guardian, SciDev, Devex, Planet Earth Institute, Quartz, etc. And the innovation message has been picked up by governments around the world. 

While consulting for UN missions in the early to mid-2000s, we had noticed a disconnect between how development was being done and what was happening in information and mobile technology and its potential. 

As far back as the late 1990s in Mongolia (then embroiled in a major crisis), DSC/DSI was able to leverage the emerging Internet and information technologies to address the crisis response. Called a “role model” for other UN missions in a global UN assessment, this work inspired the wider UN to alter its approach to these new technologies and capabilities.

During several years of working as a consultant in various UN missions around the world, we also noticed further disconnects. The rapid take-up of mobile phones being the most important. This had gone on quietly but it was revolutionary in what it could do for development. In fact, it was clear there was a quiet revolution happening in how people solved problems and dealt with the problems in their lives and it had little to do with ‘high-level’ declarations or elaborate plans. Instead, people were adapting these new technologies and potentialities to solve their problems organically: how to make money, how to support their families, how to get an education and learn, how to live in the rapidly urbanising world of their lived experience.

In 2007 we were hired by the UN’s then-Special Unit for South-South Cooperation (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) to document this quiet revolution and champion its innovators and pioneers.    

© David South Consulting 2017

Monday
Jun052017

Seven Case Studies on the Way

 

Seven Case Studies from David South Consulting/David South International will soon be posted on the website. They give a snapshot of past achievements as well as key data and links for anyone conducting research, in particular on youth and crisis resilience/austerity, youth and start-ups, health and human development innovators, international development, United Nations missions and policy, design and strategy (especially as a way out of a crisis), and the application of digital and Internet content to achieve goals. 

Highlights include: 

- investigative journalism

- introducing youth start-up culture to Toronto, Canada

- rescuing Mongolia (a Northeast Asian country) from the worst 20th century post-WWII peacetime economic and social collapse

- pioneering work in communications and digital content for the United Nations leading to it being awarded the Nobel Prize in 2001

- modernising online and digital content for the UK's National Health Service and becoming an award-winning role model  

- identifying and shaping the response to the mobile and information technology revolution in the global South and celebrating the 21st century global South innovator culture  

© David South Consulting 2017

Thursday
Dec172015

David South Consulting Now Mobile Friendly | 17 December 2015

 

David South Consulting will launch new online and mobile resources for 2016. As a great short-term solution, the website is now mobile friendly using Duda Mobile, allowing mobile users to view the site in a mobile-friendly format. With the majority of the world's population accessing the web through mobile devices, it made sense to make the content accessible to even more people. The website in mobile form is below:

David South Consulting in mobile form.