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My Experience at 2018 UN Innovation Bootcamp

I recently returned from the 2018 UN Innovation Bootcamp which took place from 24-27 July, 2018 in Beirut, Lebanon. The Bootcamp was organized by the UN Development Operations Coordination Office and it brought together cross sectorial teams working in data innovation, collective intelligence, behavioral insight and foresight/futures, and innovative finance from 21 countries. I attended as one of the mentors from Sierra Leone. As a mentor, I was matched with teams to help them think about their project design and implementation at country level. However, I was also an active peer learner and I connected with experts and novices who all had a similar interest in improving lives through data and innovation. This was pretty neat. I also learned about how the United Nation embraces data and innovation in their country operations and explored opportunities of doing more. UNSDG – A brief introduction The United Nations Sustainable Development Group unites 40 UN funds, programmes, specialized agencies, departments, and offices that play a role in development. The UN Development Operations Coordination Office- the secretariat of the UNSDG, supports 131 UN country teams serving 165 countries and territories to work together to increase the impact of the UN system. Several  country teams use innovation in their country programming including human centered design, foresight/alternative futures, big data, real-time monitoring, crowdsourcing, innovation lab/camp, mobile feedback mechanism, micro-narratives, and behavioral insights. Examples of projects by participants at the Bootcamp are: SDGs Real-time monitoring to enhance participatory planning in Colombia-Data Collective intelligence to engage Iraqi youth in mapping their cultural heritage devastated by the war in Iraq Data accountability framework based on collective intelligence in Lesotho Combining UAV and Satellite Imagery for Improved Crop Monitoring in Malawi Using AI to automate the Rapid Integrated Assessment mechanism and to nationalize SDGs in Serbia Block-chain for Public Services (Land Registry) An effective solution to enhanced transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in Uzbekistan I grew significantly through the experience of engaging with participants on a daily basis learning about their projects and actions, sharing cutting-edge innovation practices and the introduction of new skills, tools, and innovative concepts in a peer-learning environment. Upon my return back to the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation, I have continued my normal projects and have dug deeper into applied machine learning and technology design as related to the SDGs.
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Transforming Government through Science, Technology, and Innovation in Sierra Leone

It is with great pleasure that I share the news that H.E. President Julius Maada Bio has appointed me as the Chief Innovation Officer for the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI). DSTI is situated within the Office of the President and in my role, I will also serve as an Advisor to both President Bio and the Chief Minister Prof. David Francis. A new body of government, the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) has a simple vision: to help transform Sierra Leone into a prosperous nation through science, technology and innovation. The Directorate seeks to facilitate and support a vibrant national innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem for the public and private sectors of Sierra Leone through:
  • Active technical research and development activities with government and other partners;
  • Development of innovative enhancements to  government service delivery and citizen engagement;
  • Policy innovation in support of science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship; and
  • Building a pipeline of talented technologists and innovators in service to the people of Sierra Leone.
The President’s New Direction Agenda presents a unique opportunity for the growth of Sierra Leone,  and I will invest all my resources, networks and experiences toward ensuring that DSTI supports Sierra Leone to become an innovation nation. We are in it together!
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