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AYNI in the magnifying glass

Local Innovators Program, a global initiative that seeks solutions in cities

More than 90 active teams, from dozens of countries, come together to positively impact the lives of millions of people. “One of the greatest contributions is to install a way of working that generates virtuous networks and improves the quality of projects,” assessed its coordinators from the Local Innovation Network (RIL).

After being thrown out In April, the Cities of Opportunities 2022 program sparked the interest of hundreds of communities with innovative potential around the world. Social entrepreneurs and local government teams came together to design high-impact initiatives and form networks capable of implementing them.

Ending August, this initiative based on systemic innovation methodology reaches its halfway point with promising progress. “The bonds that begin to form are very powerful. Cities work within thematic communities that accelerate learning curves thanks to the exchange of experiences,” he told +Comunidad Candelaria Yanzi, coordinator of Innovative Cities at RIL. 

Depending on the problems they seek to solve, the teams work among five communities: Capacity Development, Full Childhood, Life Project, Dynamic Habitats and Economic Opportunities. “We discovered that there are common themes to respond to throughout the world,” he said. Florence Gay, also a reference for the Local Innovators Program (PIL). 

“The biggest part of the learning from this mission was realizing that I had knowledge that I wasn't accessing to allow discussions to flow better. Our teamwork grew stronger. “I think we can walk with greater connection,” he said. Liliam da Silva, member of a team from the city of Salvador (Brazil). Their project, which is part of the Infancia Plena community, is based on providing a solution to the lack of green spaces in vulnerable neighborhoods.

The Salvador de Bahía team wants there to be more green spaces in vulnerable areas. Parque dos Ventos, illustrative photo. Source:

More innovations to continue growing

Powered by RILAshokaVia Education and CoLab, organizations united in AYNI | Communities of Local Innovators, the 2022 program is based on collaborative work and presents a series of evolutions with respect to previous editions:

– The exchange networks, present since last year. “It is one of our great flags. We had experiences with incredible results, so we are promoting the creation of local ecosystems to work on particular themes,” said Candelaria Yanzi.

– The program is bilingual from the beginning, allowing a “jump in scale and scope.” 

– The Mission Zero, a work on a personal level before delving into the methodological and design tools. “We established values such as empathy, humility and commitment that must be transversal to all teams, all themes and all cities. We are observing them throughout the entire process,” Candelaria explained.

The 2021 edition was won by a transformative project in Torotoro National Park, Bolivia. 

– As of 2022, the program is no longer a contest. 

Instead of a final evaluation before a jury, there are now two “court moments.” One occurs halfway through, when the first design methodology is closed. “It is a great moment of feedback and feedback with a inspiration table in which the teams must tell what they want to generate, what their theories of change are and what the design question is that enables them to begin the ideation work,” they specified. The second occurs at the end. 

– Starting this year, AYNI proposed to local teams to incorporate the figure of communicators for the creation and development of storytelling of the proyects. “They must tell the problem and its solutions. They have two deliveries throughout the process,” Florencia Gay explained. 

– For this opportunity the role of technological facilitation for all those projects that require it. 

– Some initiatives will develop business plans in its final stages. “This opens many doors when seeking financing,” observed Candelaria Yanzi. 

– The Global Community of Local Innovators, a space for “peer accompaniment”. It includes various actors and aims to systematize learning and promote replicability processes in order to accelerate transformations in cities.

Change experiences 

The 2021 edition of the program had teams of Tororo (Bolivia), Cordova (Argentina) and Valledupar (Colombia). At the end of April 2022, its protagonists lived a week of inspiration and search for opportunities among the entrepreneurial ecosystems of the city of NY.

Once the program is over, the projects are made visible in the Local Solutions Marketplace, a space to connect innovators with impact funds and collaboratively solve the most pressing public challenges in cities.

In 2022, many new features will be incorporated that will be seen throughout the development of the program. Among them is the launch of this new supplement to track the status of projects.

Main image: female empowerment project in Ghana, 2021.
Editorial +Community.

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