Social Innovation Platform in

  • Sector: Urban Transformation
  • Country: Armenia

Agirre Lehendakaria Center in collaboration with UNDPs Europe and Central Asia's City Experiment Fund (funded by the Slovak Ministry of Finance) and Mayor's for Economic Growth

In 2021, five cities from across the Europe and Central Asian region embarked on an exploration of a new approach to problem solving, which is rooted in systems thinking: Stepanavan (Armenia), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Prizren (Kosovo), Pljevlja (Montenegro) and Skopje (North Macedonia) began designing their own Social Innovation Platforms.

Now in different stages of the social innovation process, these Platforms seek to interconnect organizations and actions around shared objectives, methodologies and evaluation systems, in order to bring about systemic impact. Although a platform approach requires increased effort in the design phase and new tools for building a collective vision, it will ultimately contribute to align disconnected initiatives and to enhance their impact, cohesion and visibility.


ALCk worked in collaboration with the UNDP's Armenia Country Office and the team in Stepanavan began byidentifying community's narratives via a deep listening process. This helped unravel narratives that surround both the challenges and opportunities at hand, but also, more importantly, the city and its future in general. 

With a clearly defined intent, the team moved on to identifying the best places in selected systems to intervene. From July to August 2021, the teams went into experimentation mode and began implementing their portfolios of options. The Platform in Stepanavan is currently working in different co-creation spaces based on thematic areas (alternative finance, youth talent attraction or housing, among others) where to relate prototypes and existing initiatives in the region.

Profiles and Narratives
Impact Levels
  • Community actions2
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  • Small and mid scale initiatives2
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  • Large scale initiatives9
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  • New public services8
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  • New regulation mechanisms5
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Key narrative

Development should te focused on the communities of the cities. 


Key narrative

Unemployment is the city’s biggest and most urgent problem


Key narrative

Stepanavan won’t change if we don’t create something that keeps people here


Key narrative

Finding a job is a challenge largely conditioned by COVID-19


Key narrative

Ashotaberd district needs to be renovated so as no one is living in a trailer


The City Experiment Fund project is part of the Slovak Transformation Fund, financed by the Slovak Ministry of Finance. It is an effort of UNDP and the Ministry of Finance of Slovakia to support cities in applying innovative approaches to tackle complex challenges in the system. Spread across five cities, this project helps build capabilities within UNDP and the supporting municipalities to work on problems with a systems lens. 


The Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) is a joint EU & UNDP initiative to support Mayors and their teams in the Eastern Partnership region. The M4EG offers resources, network and learning opportunities to explore new trajectories of growth, and to make towns and cities more attractive for people and investment.