Development and its futures​

An event not about what development is, but what it could be
8 weeks
30 conversations


The COVID pandemic has triggered, among others, a radical rethink of development – both as a paradigm and as a sector itself.  The last few months has seen those proclaiming the end of multilateralism and questioning the relevance of the SDGs on the one hand and those calling for embracing the post growth pathways and re-imagining global institutions on the other.  All of this in the midst of renewed questions about democracy, race and inequality. 


The IID2021 will explore these questions with the objective of unlocking new pathways.  To do this, we need to address the legacies of our past, explore the edges of the present, and accelerate the progress towards a plurality of futures. Thus IID2021 is structured around 3 “moves”:


Move 1:

Questioning identity and its roots- development as a paradigm based on Western legacy

We contend with the notion that our ability to unlock new futures is contingent on re-examining our past and coming to terms with implications of legacy lock-ins. These are the decisions from the past that are perpetuating structural inequalities and maintaining blindfolds on our collective ability to ‘see’ alternative development paths.

Move 2:

Vibrations in the present- where opportunities for renewal are being shaped 

We seek out those who today are rethinking the fundamental societal relationship– those with nature, technology, future and ourselves.  From building a whole-of-society social protection programs in days to designing new digital currencies to fund city wide UBI experiments – it is perhaps not surprising that many of these vibrations in the present are coming from places that have paid the highest costs of these broken relationships.

Move 3:

Accelerating the prototyping of alternative narratives – shaping different possible futures.

We explore pathways to make alternative futures more tangible, so that we can proactively shape our path towards them.  Here, we will encourage participants to get into action mode and give concrete shape to possible futures as a way to understand their implications and counteract the ‘imaginary crisis’ – ‘a deficit of social imagination [in which] many people find it hard to picture a plausible and desirable society a generation or two in the future.

About Innovation Days

Innovation Days is UNDP’s corporate R&D effort. It aims to engage with the “edges”: individuals, communities, organizations and policy makers from different sectors who are building new futures, designing new paradigms and challenging the status quo. The focus is on learning from practice and exploring avenues for system transformation to achieve the SDGs.

Previous Innovation Days

Innovation Days 2018
Innovation Days 2017​