Social Innovation Platform in Southern Thailand (3 Provinces) — UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

Practice Lab

ALCcollaborates with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to co-design new solutions addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Despite the complex and interconnected nature of the Sustainable Development Goals, most of the current global development initiatives addressing complex issues (air pollution and climate emergency, future of work) are still designed as projects to address specific issues linearly. Alternatively, UNDP in collaboration with ALCand other international social innovation laboratories seeks to break with this traditional working method, incorporating new approaches based on collective intelligence and open innovation. This collaboration with UNDP is a qualitative and quantitative leap for ALCas it expands the scope of intervention to the Asian continent and allows us to establish a space for collaboration and learning with the United Nations System.

In 2020, ALCK offered a collaborative support system for UNDP’s regional offices in Bangkok (Asia Pacific) to co-design, implement and evaluate a Social Innovation Platform in Southern Thailand, whose main objective is build new territorial development approaches in food system transformation.

Gastronomy as a tool for social transformation

Food system is one of today’s greatest challenges facing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Therefore, ALCK is working together with UNDP and Imago –chefs and creators for gastronomic models transformation–, promoting new approaches based on social innovation platforms that will help us redesigning more sustainable food systems in Southern Thailand. With this approach, we seek to break with the traditional division between analysis and action, incorporating a permanent listening system that generates real-time information on the perceptions of the territory and how it responds to the development of ongoing initiatives.

We started from a deep immersion and listening process in each community (including citizens and everyday people, public sector, private sector, academia, civil society organisations and every relevant actor in each context at the same level and in the same spaces), identifying its behaviours, needs and aspirations and connecting them with new emerging opportunities.

In this process, we used new listening techniques, that is, ethnographic interviews with a diverse set of key actors from the local food system combined with a digital listening process (click here to learn more about it) that led us to gather narratives at various levels of depth and thematic areas. This analysis was subsequently validated through “personas”, which represent unified patterns of perception, behaviour and thinking that helped us mapping narratives about local gastronomy in a highly segmented (albeit contradictory) way.

Thus, we were able to co-create and visualise a first portfolio of actions connected to the real needs and opportunities of at least one of these “personas”, which opened a new space for co-creation and experimentation. We co-designed a second portfolio of new transformative solutions with the participation of local and international actors, which integrate the following 5 levels of impact: community actions, small and medium scale actions, large scale actions, new public services and new regulations.

This innovative process with a long-term systemic approach allows UNDP to segment large amounts of information and feed the collective interpretation and co-creation phases of the portfolio in real time.

We invite you to watch these 3 visual capsules where the main keys of the process in the three provinces of Southern Thailand are told by the communities themselves.

1– Khao Yam: Panare District

“Khao Yam is very popular in the three border provinces. The perfect complement to Khao Yam is Budu sauce” “Budu sauce is a very important element for all the recipes in the three border provinces”.

2– Budu Sauce: Ban Thon, Narathiwat

“Without Budu sauce, we don’t know what to eat with rice.”

3– Fresh Market: Yala City

“If we go to the market, especially the Yala market, we will see one thing, what is being sold in the market come from other part of the region.”

Sector: Urban Transformation / Culture and Language Recovery / Digitalisation / Equal employment, Gender Equality and Inclusivity / Cooperativism / Climate Emergency

Location: Southern Thailand – 3 provinces (Panare District, Pattani / Ban Thon, Narathiwat / Yala City, Yala)

Year 2020-2021


Related new: “Gastronomy as a driver for Social Transformation – ALC, Imago and UNDP present their collaborative work in Madrid Fusión”